And Here It Is: Diet Soda Causes Heart Problems

Photo by: Rafakoy

Diet soda always seemed so good to be true, didn’t it? Sweet but no calories? A sugary, bubbly, and guilt-free green card? Well, a new study out of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center found that people who drank diet soda daily had a 43% increased chance of suffering a vascular event (heart attack, stroke, vascular death) than people who drank none, and that was after taking into account pre-existing vascular conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome. The researchers are unclear why diet soda had such harmful effects. Interestingly enough, however, researchers found that regular soft drink consumption and a more moderate intake of diet soft drinks did not appear to be linked to a higher risk of vascular events.

I’ve long discouraged diet sodas and artificial sweeteners because while they can technically help you meet your fluid needs, they leave your body wondering why it didn’t get any sugar out of the sweet-tasting beverage, causing you to eventually crave and scavenge for sugary treats. This makes you grumpy and crazy, and causes you to cycle through diet sodas, candy bars, guilt, more diet sodas, free-based sugar, and so on. Plus, many individuals feel more anxious after consuming artificial sweeteners and often have trouble falling asleep at night, regardless of caffeine consumption.

If you need to sweeten and a touch of real raw sugar or agave nectar won’t do it, stevia powder like Truvia (made from stevia leaves) has zero calories and is made from nature, not chemistry. Plus, it doesn’t have the unhealthy heart or  sugar-craving delirium side-effects. For beverages, however, straight up water jazzed with fresh fruit and cucumber wedges, or filtered water seltzered with the at-home Soda Stream, are always best.

Sorry to bear the bad news, diet soda lovers! But, the good news is that after 3 diet soda-free weeks, your taste buds will adjust and you’ll be clear out of the health risk woods. Plus, you’ll feel shockingly amazing. No more panicked vending machine runs!

6 thoughts on “And Here It Is: Diet Soda Causes Heart Problems

  1. Katie says:

    Hi Jen,
    The article stated that the “people who drank anywhere between 6 diet sodas per week and 1 diet soda per month had the same risk as people who never drank soda.” So, it was just the people who drank more than 6 sodas per week who had the increased risk of vascular problems, right? Just checking because this might actually be good news for me because now when I give in to temptation and drink one I won’t feel so guilty if up to even 6 a week is considered moderate!

  2. Tim says:

    The ironic thing is, Diet Coke is apparently teamed up with Heart Truth to promote heart health, and you can donate Coke Rewards points to the organization. See and for info.

    My favorite quote from the first article, based on this new study’s findings, is: “‘For five years, Diet Coke has been a passionate supporter of The Heart Truth and its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of heart health,’ said William White, brand director for Diet Coke North America.”

    Every once in a while I get a craving for soda, too; I need to find some sugar-sweetened soda from Whole Foods or something and keep a few cans at work, just in case, rather than caving in and visiting the Coke machine.

    • Jen Reilly says:

      Hey Tim! Yowza! Thanks for sharing the irony. For you, keep some bottles of Izze soda on hand for your cravings. They’re fizzy & delicious and made from real juice. The grapefruit flavor is my fave. You can get them at Whole Foods and most other grocery stores. Enjoy! XOXO Jen

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