Experts warn that diet drinks are no better than their higher-calorie counterparts.
Artificially sweetened drinks are seen as a “healthy alternative” due to their low calorie count, but experts now say they may put you at risk of heart disease.
The researchers claimed that there is a link between the diet drinks and cardiovascular disease, and said the findings could benefit public health policy.
The study was published at the American College of Cardiology, where researchers looked at data from the French NutriNet-Santé group.
This included records of 104,760 participants who filled out three diet records, at 24 hours every six months.
For the purpose of the study, artificially sweetened drinks were defined as those containing non-nutritious sweeteners.
Nutritious sweeteners are alternatives to nutritious sweeteners, which add little or no calories to your diet when used to sweeten foods and drinks.
They are usually sweeter than actual sugar, and you need to use them in small amounts.
The researchers defined sugary drinks as those containing sugar levels of 5% or more.
For each of the beverage categories, the participants were divided into non-consumers – those who did not drink the beverage at all, low-end consumers – those who drink them on occasion, and consumers – people who drank them regularly.
Experts studied cases of people who suffered from cardiovascular disease from 2009-2019.
The researchers excluded the first three years after follow-up exams, in order to explain the reverse causal bias, which is when two things correlate with each other – though not in the way expected.
The team ruled this out to ensure that their findings are clear and concise, when it comes to people who drank artificially sweetened drinks.
And they found that the first 1,379 people had the first cases of cardiovascular disease.
And compared to those in the non-consumer or high-consuming group of both sugary and artificially sweetened beverages, the researchers found that groups who consumed both had a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
In addition to the risk of heart disease, the study may have other regulatory implications, said Eloy Chasillas, PhD student, lead author of the study and a member of the Nutrition Epidemiology Research Team (Sorbonne Paris Nord, Inserm, Enray, Kaname).
“Our study indicates that artificially sweetened drinks may not be a healthy alternative to sugar drinks, and these data provide additional arguments to feed the current debate about taxation, labeling and regulation of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks,” he said.
The researchers added that the link between heart disease and artificially sweetened beverages needs to be studied in a large-scale group.
Experts previously revealed that a third of a soft drink a day can increase the risk of cancer.
Experts found that just 100ml of the sugary drink could increase your risk of disease by 18% – a typical package is about 330ml.
The risk of breast cancer specifically increased by 22%.
The French research team believes that the sugar in drinks makes our bodies store more fat around organs such as the liver and pancreas, and this has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
The cause may also be high blood sugar levels, inflammation and additives in some drinks.
The diet drinks showed some increased risk, although scientists said only low levels were consumed during the survey.
Source: The Sun