Diet Soda Linked to Strokes, Heart Attacks

MIAMI - Diet soda may be lower in calories, but it's not necessarily healthier. A group of Florida researchers found people who drank diet soda every day had higher risks for heart attack and stroke, compared to those who didn't drink any soda. [audio:|titles=dietsoda|artists=Lhee]

Coke. Seven-up. Fanta. Not many people can resist a sugary fizzy drink on a hot day, even though drinking too much soda has been linked to negative health effects, like diabetes, tooth decay and obesity.

But guzzling down a no-calorie, sugarless diet soda may not be the better option. University of Miami researchers found people who drank diet soda every day had a 48 percent higher risk of strokes and heart attacks than those who drank no soda. This was after they accounted for age, sex, race, lifestyle and past medical history.

UMiami researcher Hannah Gardener emphasized these results are preliminary.

"I don’t think based on one observational study, there’s any reason for anyone to change their behavior," Gardener said. "But I think it is important to remember that there’s no nutritional value to diet or regular sodas."

The findings were presented at the 2011 International Stroke Conference. [ | FPR Spot]