What the Experts Say About Flawed Diet Soda and Stroke Study
"You have to look at what people eat in totality. People who are reducing calories by drinking diet soda may have an unhealthy dietary pattern, consuming a lot of fat and salt, for example. And that won't be picked up using a questionnaire like the one used here."
Philip B. Gorelick, MD, MPH, head of neurology and stroke research at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
"This study has major flaws and should not change anyone's diet soda consumption...One of the many flaws here is that participants were asked about soda intake at only one point in time, when they entered the study. It is difficult to imagine that people's intake of soda is constant during that period."
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor
"Population-based studies provide some 'food for thought' but shouldn't be used as the basis of nutrition guides for individuals. This study would be another one that indicates more controlled studies are needed."
Connie Diekman, a registered dietician and director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St Louis
“Maybe along with the diet soda, people are grabbing a Big Mac and a large fries...Soda may not be the villain. It may be the other things people consume in association with diet soda. After all, what goes better with pizza or fries than a soda?”
Dr. Nehal N. Mehta, director of inflammatory risk cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania
"This suggests that the findings may be spurious, and needs confirmation in a much larger group of patients."
Christopher Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston
"People need to know about this, but it is important for everyone to realize that no general guidelines should be derived from these types of observational studies...I'll continue to pack a diet soda with my lunch, but I'll look more carefully at what else is in my lunch box, and I'll pay more attention to what I'm doing while I'm drinking my diet soda."
Cam Patterson, MD, a cardiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"Unfortunately, it may be that individuals with poor dietary habits do resort [to] some kind of calorie balancing and continue to eat high-calorie sweet foods but reduce their 'guilt' by drinking diet soda."
Howard Weintraub, MD, clinical director of the NYU Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.
“These researchers completely ignored every precept of solid epidemiological research, and what’s more, they failed to detect an increased risk of cardiovascular risk among daily drinkers of regular soda. There are absolutely no biological hypotheses that can begin to justify this. I doubt any reputable scientific, peer-reviewed journal will ever publish such nonsense.”
Dr. Gilbert Ross, American Council on Science and Health