Research shows that diet sodas may be more harmful than we thought.

By: Taren Vaughan

Diet sodas have been said to be the saving grace for those who constantly crave an acidic beverage to quench their thirst. Some of us drink them with every meal of the day, including breakfast. And because they don’t harbor any regular sugar or calories, they are deemed as the healthiest drink next to water. But most recently, a group of researchers supposedly found that diet soda is not as healthy as we once thought it to be.

Dr. Steven Greenberg, a Harvard Medical School neurologist and vice chairman of the International Stroke Conference in California examined a study that was conducted in Northern Manhattan and presented the information from it to show that we may want to pay closer attention to diet soft drinks.

The study involved approximately 2,500 adults over 40 in the New York area from 1993 to 2001, one-fourth of the participants being African American and the rest being Hispanic. It is strange that they also noted that studies of this kind involving minority groups are pretty much non-existent. Now wonder why we seem to be constantly battling these kinds of diseases. The research is extremely limited, either due to a small number of people from these ethnic groups who are willing to participate or because we are unaware of when the studies are taking place. Regardless, this problem needs to be addressed much more than diet soda that’s for sure.

Study participants were also required to keep records of their daily diets. After a 10 year time span of doing this, there were 559 strokes or heart attacks reported. 338 of them resulted in death.

338 deaths is nothing to brush under the rug, especially when a minor change in one’s diet could have saved their life.

Diet sodas do not contain sugar or any calories, which is one of the reasons why so many people resort to drinking them versus regular soda or juices. But there is a catch to them, just like with any other “diet”, “low fat” or “sugar free” drink or food. They contain significant amounts of salt. In turn, this causes people to retain water at higher rates, leading to swelling of the feet and hands, frequent headaches, increased blood pressure and, as this research shows, potentially heart attacks.

This news scares me as I am an avid diet soda drinker. As with any research though, their findings still require further investigation. And with anything that is said to be the cause of certain diseases or death, people will always bring up other factors that could be linked in as well, proving that the researchers may not be completely correct in what they are saying. Either way, it is important that we take heed to what they have found thus far.

Overall, it sounds like the best thing to do may be to step away from the diet sodas altogether. But that is much easier said than done after years of drinking them. Trust me, I know. If it’s a stretch to completely remove them from your diet, be sure to wash them down with water on a frequently basis so that you can rid your body of the excess salt that you are taking in.

Source: Laboratory Equipment

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