As science advances, more and more data seems to pile in proving that diet beverages and artificially sweetened foods are not actually much better for your health, and in some cases can be even worse. Keeping that trend going is a new study that suggests drinking only two servings a day of Diet Coke and other sweetened sodas could substantially increase your risk of heart failure.
According to the Independent, the study was carried out by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, looking at 42,400 male test subjects for 12 years. Over the course of the study, the researchers found that 3,604 of those men had suffered from heart failure with a positive link to the regular consumption of sweetened drinks like Diet Coke. Of those, 509 men died from the resulting heart condition.
But it wasn’t just Diet Coke that caused heart failure. The study accounted for all artificially sweetened beverages which were marketed as “diet” drinks because they don’t contain any sugar, such as Pepsi Max or Diet Mountain Dew.
The scientists determined that drinking just two cans of diet coke or another diet soda a day increases your chances of heart failure by about 23 percent.
“Our study findings suggest sweetened beverage consumption could contribute to heart failure development,” said the study. “These findings could have implications for heart failure prevention strategies.”
The findings were published in the journal Heart. While the study only examined the effects of Diet Coke on men, the researchers believe the findings can be applied to women as well.
But, while the study made a point to note the correlation between heart failure and Diet Coke, it found no difference between diet beverages and drinks that were sweetened with real sugar.
“No distinction was made between drinks sweetened with sugar, fructose/glucose, or artificial sweetener.”
Beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and sugar have already been linked to such diseases as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke, but the Karolinska Institute seems to have determined that Diet Coke or other sugar-free options may not be a healthier choice.
There have been a number of rumors floating around about the possibility of artificial sweeteners in beverages like Diet Coke causing cancer, but experts have found no significant data so far to prove or disprove that claim.
However, according to the Daily Star, some people are doubting the results of the Diet Coke study, such as Gavin Partington, the Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association.
“The authors of this limited observational study accept that no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect,” Partington said. “Key risk factors for heart failure include high blood pressure which is a consequence of an overall unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. The persistent focus on a single ingredient or product is neither helpful to consumers nor based on evidence of the importance of a balanced diet overall.”
But the Swedish study is not the only scientific evidence linking Diet Coke to health consequences. Just last week, Niraj Naik, a former pharmacist who calls himself the “Renegade Pharmacist,” released an infographic claiming to detail the horrific things that drinking Diet Coke does to your body. Check out the picture below.
What do you think? Do you believe that Diet Coke can increase your chance of heart failure by 23 percent? And if it does, do you still think sugar-free options like Diet Coke are still preferable to regular soft drinks? Leave a comment below.
[Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images]