Diet sodas and drinks with artificial sweeteners were introduced as a healthier alternative to sugar and were meant to combat some of the harmful health effects of sugar such as obesity and diabetes. These drinks have been marketed heavily in the United States and worldwide and have become widely accepted to the point that one survey suggested that 50% of all Americans aged 18-49 years, drink at least one diet cola each month.
Thus, a recent study published in the March 2019 issue of the journal, Stroke, raised some serious concerns regarding the consumption of such beverages: “Women who drank two or more artificially sweetened drinks had a 23% higher risk of strokes in general, and a 31% higher risk of strokes involving clotting in smaller blood vessels in the brain. They were 29% more likely to suffer from heart disease and 16% more likely to die from any cause than other women in the study.”
The researchers wanted to be clear that this study only showed an association between beverages with artificial sweeteners and potential increase in cardiovascular risks and not necessarily cause and effect. The study was also unclear if there were differences between the types of artificial sweeteners. They suggested that drinks with no sweeteners at all would be the best alternative.