Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) can increase people's risk for premature death, but this does not always mean that consuming artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) is the healthier option.
Dangers Of Consuming Too Much Artificially Sweetened Drinks
Findings of a large, long-term study have found that drinking one artificially sweetened drink a day instead of a sugary one can lower a person's risk of premature death.
The researchers, however, found that drinking four or more of artificially sweetened beverages per day is also associated with increased risk of mortality particularly in women.
Examples of artificially sweetened drinks include those that use low-calorie or noncaloric sweeteners such as Nutrasweet, Splenda, and Stevia. Diet Coke And Diet Pepsi, which are popularly marketed to people who want to reduce their sugar or calorie intake, use artificial sweeteners.
Study researcher Vasanti Malik, from the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues looked at the link between drinking ASBs and risk of early death.
Evidence suggested that replacing SSBs with ASBs is associated with moderately lower risk of premature death. High intake of ASBs equivalent to at least four serving a day is associated with a slightly increased risk of both overall and heart-related mortality among women.
This is not the first time artificially sweetened drinks are linked to adverse health effects. A study conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine also found that women who consume two diet sodas every day have 23 percent increased risk for clot-caused ischemic stroke.
A 2017 study also found that people who consume at least one diet soda every day have nearly three times the risk for dementia.
Healthier Option To Artificially Sweetened Drinks
Despite the popularity of artificially sweetened drinks, the researchers said water remains the healthier option.
"Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is a healthy choice that could contribute to longevity," Malik said. "Diet soda may be used to help frequent consumers of sugary drinks cut back their consumption, but water is the best and healthiest choice."
The new study was published in the journal Circulation on March 18.