Dangers of Soft Drinks

Did You Know…drinking this popular beverage can increase your risk of developing deadly heart disease?

A growing body of peer-reviewed research shows that diet soft drinks raise your risk for a number of serious health problems, including…

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer

Now, one of the largest studies ever conducted on diet soft drinks shows that if you’re still opting for diet drinks as a way to avoid extra calories, you may be putting your heart health at risk, as well.

Zero Calories…and Lots of Problems 

Researchers at the University of Iowa recently completed one of the largest studies ever done on the dangers of soft drinks.  The new study, which took 10 years to complete and involved 60,000 participants, showed that consuming diet drinks was associated with…

  • Higher odds of developing heart disease
  • Greater risk of dying from heart disease

Participants who consumed 2 or more diet drinks daily were 30% more likely to have a “cardiovascular event”—a heart attack or stroke—than those who never or rarely consumed them.  Even more worrying was the finding that consuming upward of 2 diet drinks each day made participants twice as likely to die from heart disease or a related condition.


Too Much of a Sweet Thing Can Be Terrible 

The link between diet soda and heart disease did not change when the researchers controlled for demographic characteristics and other cardiovascular risk factors, such as…
 Body mass index (BMI)
 Hormone therapy use
 Physical activity levels
 Salt intake
 High cholesterol

Researchers even separated out sugar-sweetened beverage intake, just to be sure.  The findings remained clear:  diet soda was the culprit.

How to Kick the Habit 

Although soft drink sales are sliding, 63 million Americans drink one on any given day.  If this applies to you, science tells us that the best way to rid yourself of a bad habit is to find a good replacement.  But choose carefully.

Flavored waters in drinks often tout themselves as “healthy,” but many of these commercial beverages still contain artificial sweeteners.  Experts say a better option is to make your own.  Simply add slices of your favorite fruits, veggies, or herbs to a pitcher of water.  Their flavors will infuse the water, resulting in a flavorful and refreshing drink.

You can also chop fruit, place it in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze.  The cubes will deliver instant flavor to any beverage.  If you can’t bear to give up bubbles, try mixing a splash of real fruit juice with seltzer.

No matter how much you might love soda, it’s time to kick the habit.  Even a gradual shift can bring big benefits.  A study published in the Diabetologia journal found that cutting back by a single soft drink a day can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 25%!