Diet drinks may not be heart healthier than sugary drinks, study finds

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In a new study, researchers found that sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages are linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

This suggests artificially sweetened beverages may not be the healthy alternative they are often claimed to be.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Paris.

Research has shown that diets including beverages sweetened with sugar can have a negative impact on cardio-metabolic health.

Artificially sweetened drinks have been suggested as a healthier alternative, but their impact on cardiovascular health is not fully known.

In this study, researchers looked at data from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort to examine the link between the risk of heart disease and consuming sugary drinks and artificially sweetened drinks.

Records for 104,760 participants were included.

Artificially sweetened beverages were defined as those containing non-nutritive sweeteners. Sugary drinks consisted of all beverages containing 5% or more sugar.

For each beverage category, participants were divided into non-consumers, low consumers and high consumers.

The researchers looked at first incident cases of cardiovascular disease during follow-up from 2009-2019, which were defined as stroke, transient ischemic attack, myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome and angioplasty.

They found that compared to non-consumers, both higher consumers of sugary drinks and of artificially sweetened beverages had higher risks of first incident cardiovascular disease.

The study suggests artificially sweetened beverages may not be a healthy substitute for sugar drinks, and these data provide additional arguments to fuel the current debate on taxes, labeling and regulation of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages.

One author of the study is Eloi Chazelas, a Ph.D. student.

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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