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According to a recent study conducted at the University of Iowa, women who drink a diet soda or two a day have much higher cardiovascular disease rates and are more likely to die from the disease.

Diet soda research leads to concern

The findings of the study, which was conducted over the course of 10 years, was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C. The study analyzed diet drink intake and cardiovascular health in almost 60,000 women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. It found that compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consume two or more a day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease.

Researchers divided the study participants into four groups: two or more diet drinks a day, five to seven diet drinks per week, one to four diet drinks per week, and zero to three diet drinks per month. Each drink was defined as the equivalent of a 12-ounce beverage and included both diet sodas and diet fruit drinks.

The average follow-up period was about 8.7 years, and the primary outcome was defined as a composite of incident coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular death. This primary outcome occurred in 8.5 percent of the women consuming two or more diet drinks a day compared to 6.9 percent in the five-to-seven diet drinks per week group, 6.8 percent in the one-to-four drinks per week group, and 7.2 percent in the zero-to-three per month group.

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