Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cola concern. New research links diet soda to strokes and heart attacks.
Jessica Kartalija explains what’s behind this study.
If swapping regular for diet soda seems like a smarter selection, think again. A study of more than 2,500 people found those drinking diet soda had a 61 percent higher risk of stroke or heart attack than those who steer clear of soft drinks altogether.
Dr. James Ricely, a cardiologist at St. Joseph Medical Center, is skeptical.
“It’s the first study that has ever implicated diet soda as a risk for stroke and heart attack,” Ricely said.
Ricely says these may have had other risk factors that weren’t taken into account.
“High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, particularly. That’s the reversible factor that you can eliminate,” Ricely said. “You find those things that you can work on, and you work on them.”
Soda drinkers we spoke with say despite what the study finds, they’re not ready to drop these diet drinks just yet.
“Like people hooked to coffee, I’m hooked to soda,” said one soft drink consumer.
“Everything, nowadays, they say, is linked to something or another,” said another. “So hopefully it’s good for me. I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Ricely says water is always your best bet, but you don’t need to write off the diet drinks just yet.
“If you like the beverages, until there is more definitive information, I think you continue doing what you’re doing,” Ricely said.
Ricely says the best way to prevent heart disease or stroke is to talk to your doctor, and develop a health regimen that fits your lifestyle.