Drinking diet soft drinks, such as Diet Coke, everyday increases your risk of dying young, experts have warned.
Enjoying just two cans of any artificially-sweetened drinks each day significantly ups the risk of stroke and heart disease by almost third, new findings show.
The shocking new data from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association shows that risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for those who consume diet drinks, compared to those who don’t.
Scientists warned their findings should serve as a warning to those on diets.
Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study told CNN: “Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet.
“Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”
Heart disease is where the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood narrow, increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke, the Australian Heart Foundationstates — adding it also boosts your chance of developing angina.
While a heart attack is where the artery is blocked, preventing blood from getting through.
This confronting new study looked at over 80,000 women, with some demographics at an even greater risk, such as those who were obese.
Dr Mossavar-Rahmani did stress while their findings suggested a link, they couldn’t prove diet drinks cause stroke and heart problems.
The research was published in the medical journal Strokeon February 14, and included data from a variety of different women and who were tracked for an average of 12 years.
One serving of diet drink was regarded as 355ml.
Each serve of Diet Coke is sweetened with aspartame — one of the most common artificial sweeteners in use today — and has FDA approval, Harvard Health reports.
Rethink Sugary Drinks use World Health Organisation guidelines for Australians, advising adults and children limit their daily intake of fizzy drinks — particularly the ones with sugar.
There have been health concerns surrounding soft drinks for many years.
Last year the Cancer Council urged Aussies to drink sugary drinks after highlighting a link between obesity and 13 different types of cancer.
While sugar-free options had been thought to be a healthier option, there has been research in the past to suggest diet drinkers end up drinking more as the brain doesn’t receive the same hunger satiety signals and blood sugar feedback, Australian Healthy Food states.
Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council — the peak body representing the non-alcoholic drinks industry — told news.com.au:
“Any research that looks at health risks associated with diet and lifestyle must look at the total diet and not at one product, such as no sugar or ‘diet’ soft drinks.
“In many instances, individuals’ health problems are exacerbated by poor diet and lifestyle including high rates of physical inactivity.”
He added that sweeteners used in all no sugar non-alcoholic beverages are rigorously assessed and approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
“No sugar drinks are a great option for consumers who don’t want to worry about consuming too many calories and it is imperative that these drinks continue to be offered as a way to encourage Australians to manage the amount of sugar they consume.”