Friday, February 11, 2011

A Dilemma...

I don't smoke.
I rarely drink.
I don't do drugs.
I don't drink coffee.
Sure, I could stand to lose more than a few pounds, but I'm trying.

One of my few vices is my daily Diet Coke. (Sometimes two.) I used to drink A LOT of Diet Coke (nearly a two-liter bottle every day), but nearly three years ago I cut it out completely, and now only drink one—or perhaps two if it's a bad day—during lunch. As far as vices go, you'd think I'm doing pretty well, no?

Research released earlier this week has apparently found higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink it everyday versus those who drink no soda at all. The study found that daily diet soda drinkers (there were 116 in the study) had a 48 percent higher risk of stroke or heart attack than people who drank no soda of any kind (901 people, or 35 percent of total participants). That's after taking into account rates of smoking, diabetes, waistline size and other differences among the groups.

The good news, if there is any, is that these sorts of studies just observe groups of people and are not strong enough evidence to prove risk. Even the lead researcher on the study, Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami, said "It's too preliminary to suggest any dietary advice," but she suggested other big studies should look at this question. And Dr. Steven Greenberg, a neurologist and vice chair of the International Stroke Conference, called the research "a real-world" look at possible risk.

So what to do?

The wise thing would be to quit drinking diet soda again, even though the risks aren't proven, right? I already drink more than a gallon of water each day, so keeping on that track wouldn't be too difficult.

Ugh. Why is everything that I enjoy not really good for me?

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