Diet Drinks May Increase Heart Disease Risk

Drinking two or more diet drinks a day may increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, according to a new UI study. In addition to lead investigator Ankur Vyas, a fellow in cardiovascular disease at UI Hospitals and Clinics, the study team included Linda Rubenstein, Jennifer Robinson, Linda Snetselaar, and Robert Wallace from the UI College of Public Health, along with other colleagues.

The study, which analyzed diet drink intake and cardiovascular health in almost 60,000 women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, found that compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consume two or more a day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease. Vyas says the association between diet drinks and cardiovascular problems raises more questions than it answers, and should stimulate further research.