Feature | April 17, 2014

Too Many Diet Drinks May Spell Heart Trouble for Older Women

Largest study of its kind looks at diet drinks and cardiovascular outcomes, mortality

ACC 14 Clinical Trial Women Diet Drinks Cardiovascular Problem Mortality

April 17, 2014 — Healthy postmenopausal women who drink two or more diet drinks a day may be more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

In fact, compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consumed two or more a day were 30 percent more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease. Researchers analyzed diet drink intake and cardiovascular risk factors from 59,614 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, making this the largest clinical study to look at the relationship between diet drink consumption, cardiac events and death.

“Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies showing an association between diet drinks and metabolic syndrome,” said Ankur Vyas, M.D., fellow, cardiovascular diseases, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and the lead investigator of the study. “We were interested in this research because there was a relative lack of data about diet drinks and cardiovascular outcomes and mortality.”

Information on women’s consumption of diet drinks was obtained through a questionnaire that asked them to report their diet drink consumption habits over the previous three months. This information was assessed at follow-up year three of the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Each drink was defined as the equivalent of a 12-ounce beverage and included both diet sodas and diet fruit drinks. For the purposes of the analysis, researchers divided the women into four consumption 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.

After an average follow-up of 8.7 years, the primary outcome — a composite of incident coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular death — 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.

The association persisted even after researchers adjusted the data to account for demographic characteristics and other cardiovascular risk factors and comorbidities, including body mass index, smoking, hormone therapy use, physical activity, energy intake, salt intake, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and sugar-sweetened beverage intake. Women who consumed two or more diet drinks a day were younger, more likely to be smokers and had a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and higher body mass index.

But Vyas said the association between diet drinks and cardiovascular problems raises more questions than answers, and should stimulate further research.

“We only found an association, so we can’t say that diet drinks cause these problems,” Vyas said, adding that there may be other factors about people who drink more diet drinks that could explain the connection.

“It’s too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study; however, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one truly exists,” he added. “This could have major public health implications.”

About one in five people in the U.S. consume diet drinks on a given day, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009-2010). But Vyas cautioned that this particular study only applies to postmenopausal women. The average age in the study was 62.8. To be included in this analysis, women had to have no history of cardiovascular disease and be alive 60 or more days from time of data collection.

Previous studies have found artificially sweetened drinks to be associated with weight gain in adults and teens, and seem to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which makes both diabetes and heart disease more likely.

Vyas said future research could include clinical studies, animal models and even molecular and pharmacologic analyses to begin to explain what, if any, direct role diet drinks play in heart health.

For more information: www.cardiosource.org

 

Related Content

Abbott i-STAT

The Abbott i-STAT System offers test results for the most commonly ordered tests in surgical and specialty care areas, including: blood gases, chemistries, lactate, electrolytes, hemoglobin and hematocrit, and coagulation (including PT/INR). 

Feature | Point of Care Testing| September 02, 2015 | Daniella Cramp
Hospital-based healthcare providers today are under greater pressure than ever to administer cost- and time-efficient
News | Structural Heart| September 02, 2015
An investigational material known as Bioabsorbable Cardiac Matrix (BCM), designed to prevent cardiac remodeling in...
acute ischemic stroke, larger thrombi retrieval, improved neurological recovery, ESC 2015, MR CLEAN trial, sub-study
Feature | Thrombectomy Devices| September 02, 2015
Retrieval of larger thrombi during intra-arterial treatment (IAT) is associated with improved neurological recovery...
DOPPLER-CIP trial, ESC 2015, heart failure, predictor, small left ventricle, University of Leuven
Feature | Heart Failure| September 02, 2015
Findings presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2015 indicate that a small left ventricle with...
chest pain, triage, emergency department, new rapid assay, Dirk Westermann, BACC study, ESC 2015
News | Blood Testing| September 02, 2015
Emergency department patients with chest pain suggestive of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) can be triaged more...
Feature | Heart Failure| September 01, 2015
Automated alerts for excess fluid accumulation in the lungs did not improve outcomes for heart failure patients with...
News | Atrial Fibrillation| September 01, 2015
The first-ever two-year outcomes from the Global Anticoagulant Registry in the Field - Atrial Fibrillation (GARFIELD-AF...
Absorb, BVS, bioresorbable stent
News | Stents Bioresorbable| September 01, 2015
September 1, 2015 — A bioresorbable drug-eluting coronary stent showed similar efficacy and safety results compared t
bivalirudin,angiomax
Feature | Antiplatelet and Anticoagulation Therapies| September 01, 2015
September 1, 2015 — Extending treatment with the anticoagulant bivalirudin for at least four hours after completion o
cardiologists, murmurs, identification, study, ACC, heart conditions
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| August 31, 2015
Cardiologists failed to identify more than half of basic and about 35 percent of advanced pre-recorded murmurs,...
Overlay Init