• Friday, September 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Diet soft drinks may increase risk of heart diseases: Research

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Consumption of higher artificial sweeteners, typically used in diet soft drinks, might be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, a study by French researchers revealed.

The research, which involved tracking 103,000 adults for nine years, discovered that those who consumed food or drink with calorie-free sweeteners every day had a nine per cent higher risk of heart diseases.

According to it, people with an intake of aspartame, found in low-sugar fizzy drinks, were 23 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

The findings indicated that artificial sweeteners, consumed daily by millions of people and present in thousands of foods and beverages, should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar.

Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are food additives that provide a sweet taste but contain much less energy than sugar-based sweeteners and they were long considered harmless alternatives to sugar.

The authors of the research report, published in the British Medical Journal said, “In this large scale, prospective cohort of French adults, artificial sweeteners – especially aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose – were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and coronary heart diseases.”

“The results suggest that artificial sweeteners might represent a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease prevention,” they said.

The research involved the recording of everything the participants – aged 42 years on average – ate or drank every day over three days.

Some 37 per cent of the participants consumed artificial sweeteners from sources including drinks and low-calorie dairy products and their health was then monitored over nine years.

Senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, Tracy Parker told The Sunday Times: “Observational studies like these can only show an association [not cause and effect] and more research is needed to understand the links between artificial sweeteners and the risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases.

“While these findings shouldn’t cause undue concern, it’s always a good idea to look at the amount of sugar and sweeteners in your diet,” Parker said.

The dietician suggested the consumption of lentils, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables and whole grains for a healthy heart.

Related Stories