Diet drinks ‘increase heart attacks, strokes’
FOR those with a sweet tooth, diet fizzy drinks are generally thought of as a better alternative than the sugar-laden versions.
But while they are lower in calories, sipping on artificially sweetened beverages could come at another cost.
Experts have warned that diet drinks - such as Diet Coke - can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and even dementia, The Sun reports.
Research this year revealed that drinking two or more cans a day ups the risk of stroke by a quarter and heart disease by a third.
And compared with people who never touch them, the risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for diet drink consumers.
The findings, published in the journal Stroke, were based on a big study of women and showed being obese and downing diet drinks more than doubled the risk of stroke.
Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, did stress while their findings suggested a link, they couldn't prove diet drinks caused stroke and heart problems.
Another study previously found a link between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and dementia.
The US study claimed those who drank a can of artificially sweetened pop daily were 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's.
The team from Boston University School of Medicine also found it put people at three times the risk of suffering the most common form of stroke compared to non-drinkers.
However, after accounting for all lifestyle factors, the researchers deemed the link to dementia statistically insignificant.
The impact on stroke risk remained, they said.
But the findings, published back in 2017, were dismissed by some British authorities, while others have called for more investigation.
Researchers also believe that consuming diet fizzy drinks in high quantities could damage blood vessels and lead to chronic inflammation, according to Medical News Daily.
Artificial sweeteners have also been found to boost appetite - and make you want to eat more, so could put you at higher risk of conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital found the sweetener aspartame - found in some diet drinks - increases the risk of piling on the pounds.
According to their report published online in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, this is because the sugar substitute's breakdown product, phenylalanine, disrupts the metabolic rate and consequently ups the chances of weight gain.
A separate study in fruit flies and mice, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found the mismatch between sweet taste and fewer calories sent the body into "feed me" mode.
The Australian researchers found that when sweetness and energy were outbalanced for a prolonged time the brain compensated, sending signals in a bid to increase the number of calories consumed.
When given the chance, the insects and animals responded by eating more.
British nutritionists, however, said the results might not be the same for humans and added that low calorie sweetened food could help people keep weight off.
It's also better for our teeth than sugar.
This story was originally published on The Sun and was reproduced with permission