Diet soda is one of the biggest marketing scams of all time. Just think about it. Soda manufacturers are charging more for a product that’s worse for you, all the while convincing millions of Americans it’s a healthier option.
A recently-concluded study from the University of Iowa hits home just how big of a travesty the whole thing is.
The study, spearheaded by Dr. Ankur Vyas, involved nearly 60,000 participants over a 9+ year period. The goal was to pinpoint the effects of aspartame, the artificial sweetener that replaces sugar in diet drinks.
Researchers pinpointed the effects, alright. Turns out, they’re nothing short of terrifying.
The Study’s Findings
Drink two or more diet sodas daily, researchers found, and you’ll increase your risk of a cardiovascular event by 30%. You will also increase your risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by 50%.
These statistics prevailed even after researchers adjusted their data to account for other risk factors like age, BMI, smoking and physical activity.
As Dr. Vyas aptly puts it, “This could have major public health implications.”
How major? Well, 1 in 5 Americans drink diet soda every day. That’s 17% of the entire population, or more than 5 million people. That’s how major.
How Aspartame Causes Cardiovascular Disease
Based on the modern scientific principle (correlation ≠ causation), the University of Iowa study does not draw a definite link between aspartame and cardiovascular disease. Luckily, though, there’s a sea of other medical knowledge we can draw on to find the link.
Aspartame can also increase one’s risk of depression. What many people don’t realize is that a depressed person’s body is a very cardiovascular disease-friendly environment. Depression can also encourage habits conducive to cardiovascular disease, including alcohol abuse, smoking and lack of exercise.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, aspartame poses a whole laundry list of other health risks, including:
- Personality changes
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty managing diabetes
Look at it this way. 75% of all food complaints the FDA receives each year are in regards to aspartame. If you’re going to drink soda (which you really shouldn’t) stick to the regular variety.