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.”