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Are diet soft drinks invitation to heart attacks?

People who consume diet soft drinks daily could be unwittingly inviting strokes and heart attacks. Conversely, taking them in moderation don't seem to perk chances of vascular events, a form of cardiovascular disease primarily affecting the blood vessels.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 02, 2012 12:50 IST

People who consume diet soft drinks daily could be unwittingly inviting strokes and heart attacks.

Conversely, taking them in moderation don't seem to perk chances of vascular events, a form of cardiovascular disease primarily affecting the blood vessels, says a new study.

It was conducted by Hannah Gardener and colleagues from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Centre, the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports.

Diet soft drinks are typically sugar-free, artificially sweetened, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages generally marketed towards health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight.

Gardener and team examined the relationship between both diet and regular soft drink consumption and risk of stroke or myocardial infarction (heart attack), according to a Miami statement.

Data were analyzed from 2,564 participants in the Northern Manhattan Study, which was designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors and prognosis in a multi-ethnic urban population.

The researchers looked at how often individuals drank soft drinks -- diet and regular -- and the number of vascular events that occurred over a 10-year period.

They found that those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none, after taking into account pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Gardener concludes: "Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear."