For Immediate Release
Beth Hubrich, MS, RD
Theresa Hedrick, MS, RD, LD
Diet Soda and Vascular Events Study Seriously Flawed
ATLANTA (Feb. 1, 2012) - Findings presented in a new study titled “Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study” examining a possible link between diet soft drink consumption and risk of vascular events is critically flawed.
- This study was observational, so it was designed to show an association, not prove cause and effect.
- The study was conducted on a specific urban population with an average age of 69. Those participants may suffer from an increased vascular risk due to age; thus the study findings are unlikely to be relevant to the general population. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health notes that one of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke is being 55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women.
- Subjects who frequently consumed diet soft drinks were also more likely to have high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, increased triglycerides, larger waist size as well as a higher body weight to height ratio, and previous cardiac and vascular disease initially, which may have been the reason they were drinking diet soda.
- Although researchers tried to control for many variables, it is entirely possible that other factors not control for that may have influenced results. The authors admitted, “some residual confounding… may be present.”
- Even though the authors noted a link between daily diet soda consumption (at least one drink a day) and the rate of vascular events, statistically, that association was very weak. Curiously, there was no link between “light” diet soda consumption (for example, 6 drinks per week) and vascular events.
Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients in the food supply. The safety of low-calorie sweeteners has been reaffirmed time and again by leading health and regulatory groups worldwide. For more information about low-calorie sweeteners, visit: www.caloriecontrol.org. For more expert opinions discussing this study, click here.