Drinking more diet soda could put you at risk for this serious problem

Diet sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks might seem like the perfect way for you to cut empty calories and eliminate sugary beverages from your diet in a bid to lose weight.

After all, the word “diet” is right there in the name.

But a new study suggests that consuming artificially sweetened beverages could raise your risk for stroke, especially in women.

Published in the journal Stroke, the study looked at more than 80,000 post-menopausal women. It concluded that risk for stroke rose sharply among women who drank artificially sweetened beverages and had no history of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Irina Staicu, a cardiologist and cardio-oncologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says it is a “landmark” study.

“My take from reading this new medical evidence is that artificially sweetened drinks may trigger a ‘metabolic syndrome’ state, known as a precursor of cardiac disease,” Dr. Staicu says.

She says the study suggests you should be mindful of the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages, especially because they can be seen as a useful tool when you’re trying to lose weight. Plus, Dr. Staicu says, the low-calorie drinks don’t necessarily help with weight loss.

“High intake of artificially sweetened drinks has been associated with weight gain; they may lower satiety and may increase blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance,” she says. “They may also cause weight gain by stimulating appetite.”

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