Light lemonades increase stroke risk

Relationship between regular consumption of diet drinks and diseases

Blood vessels © NCI
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People who consume low-calorie light lemonade every day are at an increased risk for a vascular disease such as stroke, heart attack or a deadly embolism. The US researchers have found in a study with more than 2, 500 participants. On the other hand, those who consume regularly sweetened soft drinks or only a small amount of diet drinks are less at risk, the scientists report in the journal "Journal of General Internal Medicine".

As more and more people suffer from obesity, artificially sweetened - and thus lower calorie - soft drinks are sold as the healthier alternative to sugary drinks. However, it is unclear what long-term health consequences the regular consumption of such light drinks has. Hannah Gardener and her colleagues from the Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Columbia University Medical Center in New York have now investigated whether there is a link between the risk of stroke, heart attack and deadly embolism and the consumption of such light drinks.

Researchers analyzed the data from 2, 564 participants in the NIH-funded Northern Manhattan Study, which studies stroke, risk factors and prognosis in a multi-ethnic urban population. The researchers looked at how often individuals consume soft drinks - diet drinks and normal - in relation to the frequency of strokes over a ten-year period.

Risk increased by 43 percent

As a result, people who consume light lemonade daily are 43 percent more likely to have a vascular problem than those who refuse to drink such diets. Already existing diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension were already considered. There was no higher health risk if either normally sweetened beverages or only moderately low-fat diet drinks were consumed; moderate here means between once a month and six times a week.

"Our study assumes that there is a connection between the daily consumption of diet drinks and vascular problems, " says Gardener. How this effect is created by the consumption of soft drinks, however, is still unclear. In order to truly assess the potential health consequences of dietary supplementation, further investigation is needed. "(Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2012, doi: 10.1007 / s11606-011-1968-2)

(Springer science and business media, 01.02.2012 - NPO)