Study Links Diet Soft Drinks With Cardiac Risk

MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) — Drinking more than one soda a day — even if it’s the sugar-free diet kind — is associated with an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors linked to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a study finds.

The link to diet soda found in the study was “striking” but not entirely a surprise, said Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, study senior author and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. There had been some hints of it in earlier studies, he said.

“But this is the first study to show the association in a prospective fashion and in a large population,” Vasan said.

That population consisted of more than 6,000 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, which has been following residents of a Massachusetts town since 1948. When the soda portion of the study began, all participants were free of metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors including high blood pressure, elevated levels of the blood fats called triglycerides, low levels of the artery-protecting HDL cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar levels and excessive waist circumference. Metabolic syndrome is the presence of three or more of these risk factors.

Over the four years of the study, people who consumed more than one soft drink of any kind a day were 44 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome than those who didn’t drink a soda a day.

That sound you hear is the collective groaning of Diet Coke addicts all over the world.

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