Here's a commercial you won't see anytime soon:

Diet soda – now with extra risk!

No, that won't exactly get people slurping.

But unlike the usual nonsense about extra flavor and taste, it would actually be honest – because a new study finds that people who drink diet soda regularly could find a heart attack or stroke at the bottom of their next bottle.

Researchers tracked 2,564 New Yorkers for at least nine years, giving them regular surveys to check on their eating and drinking habits and regular exams.

After adjusting for risk factors found in those exams and lifestyle factors such as smoking, they found that people who pop the top on a diet soda every day were 61 percent more likely to suffer from vascular events such as heart attack and stroke than those who didn't drink the stuff.

And here's the part that might surprise you most: Even people who drank regular sugary soda didn't have that risk, according to the study presented at the International Stroke Conference.

The natural implication here is that there's a specific ingredient only in diet soda that's causing all those extra heart attacks and strokes.

Anyone else see where this is going?

The answer is in the artificial sweeteners, the chemical replacements for sugar that are actually worse than the real thing – even if they don't carry the calories.

Aspartame in particular – the sweetener used in most diet drinks – has been linked to headaches, insomnia, mood problems, stomach disorders, nerve damage, chest pain, asthma, seizures, tremors and so much more.

And if the new study is true, you can tack heart attack and stroke onto that list.

But in the ultimate cop-out, the researchers didn't mention sweeteners – or even come out and say it's time to stop drinking diet.

Instead, they said this needs further study.


There's no reason to wait for more studies – because all the evidence points in the same direction: This junk is dangerous.

And get this: Even the most basic promise of diet soda is a lie – because studies have found that it doesn't really help people lose weight or keep it off, and may even increase the odds of metabolic syndrome.

The reality is, there is no good reason to drink soda, diet or otherwise. All sweeteners – real and fake – are bubbling over with the potential for serious health problems.

But they're not the only dangerous ingredients in soda. They might not even be the most dangerous ingredients.