‘DIET’ DRINKS MAY HAVE AN UN­WANTED AF­TER-EF­FECT

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | YOU -

For those with a sweet tooth, diet soft drink is gen­er­ally thought of as a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive than sugar-laden ver­sions.

But while lower in calo­ries, guz­zling ar­ti­fi­cially sweet­ened bev­er­ages could come at an­other cost. Ex­perts have warned diet drinks could in­crease your risk of heart attack, stroke and even de­men­tia.

Re­search this year re­vealed drink­ing two or more cans a day ups the risk of stroke by a quar­ter and heart dis­ease by a third.

And com­pared with peo­ple who never touch them, the risk of early death is 16 per cent higher for diet drink guz­zlers.

The find­ings pub­lished in the jour­nal Stroke, were based on a big study of women and show those who are obese and down­ing diet drinks have more than dou­ble the risk of stroke.

Dr Yas­min Mos­savar-rah­mani, lead au­thor of the study at the Al­bert Ein­stein Col­lege of Medicine in New York, stressed that their find­ings sug­gested a link but didn’t prove diet drinks caused stroke and heart prob­lems.

DE­MEN­TIA RISK

An­other study pre­vi­ously found a link be­tween drink­ing ar­ti­fi­cially sweet­ened bev­er­ages and de­men­tia. The US study claimed those who drank a can of ar­ti­fi­cially sweet­ened soft drink daily were 2.9 times more likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s.

The team from Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity School of Medicine also found it put peo­ple at three times the risk of the most com­mon form of stroke com­pared to non-drinkers.

How­ever, af­ter ac­count­ing for all life­style fac­tors, the re­searchers deemed the link to de­men­tia sta­tis­ti­cally in­signif­i­cant.

The im­pact on stroke risk re­mained, they said. But the find­ings, pub­lished back in 2017, were dis­missed by some Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties, while oth­ers have called for more in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

WEIGHT GAIN

Sci­en­tists at Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal found the sweet­ener as­par­tame – found in some diet drinks – ac­tu­ally in­creases the risk of pil­ing on the ki­los. Ac­cord­ing to their re­port pub­lished on­line in Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy, Nu­tri­tion and Metabolism, this is be­cause the sugar sub­sti­tute’s break­down prod­uct, phenyl­ala­nine, dis­rupts the meta­bolic rate and con­se­quently ups the chances of weight gain.

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