Diet Soda: Upping Your Risk of Stroke

A couple of months ago, a friend of the family had a stroke at the age of 43.  This was quite a shock to everyone, as he seemed quite healthy and was fit and active.  He had surgery to repair an aneurism and things are going fairly well for him, but he is not able to go back to work yet, and spends much of his time in therapy.  So when this article came out, I wanted to share it with you in case you are one of those who can’t start your day without that can of pop.  I’m not sure if Greg was a big soda drinker, but I’m guessing he won’t be now.

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A new study (reported in HealthDay ) suggests that drinking diet soda daily may increase your risk of stroke by at least 48%. This phenq guide was presented at the International Stroke Conference this past week (Feb, 9, 2011).  Researchers interviewed over 2500 people in the New York area over a nine year period.  After accounting for differences in factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, calorie intake, smoking, physical activity, and drinking habits, researchers found a 61% increased chance of stroke for those who consumed at least one can of soda per day.  After accounting for heart disease history, vascular disease in the limbs and metabolic syndrome the risk dropped to a still high level of 48%.

Previous research by others has shown that drinking any type of soda can increase your risk of having metabolic syndrome which includes high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, high fasting blood sugar and large waists.

Since they don’t understand why this happens, the researchers are quick to point out that they cannot say for certain there is direct cause and effect and they hope more research will be done to prove a direct cause.  Afraid of offending the large soda companies?  In the meantime, if you are a big soda drinking, I’d start looking at those cans as a once in a while treat rather than a daily staple.

A Food Manifesto

The New York Times has a new column by Mark Bittman “on food and all things related”.  The first article appears in today’s (2/2) issue and is entitled A Food Manifesto for the Future.  In his op-ed, he lists ideas for improving the American Diet.  1.  End government subsidies to processed food (i.e. corn and soy beans).  2. Begin subsidies to those who produce and sell actual food for direct consumption (i.e. veggies & fruits).  3. Break up the USDA and empower the FDA. (to prevent things like the US government advertising for Dominoes to get Americans to eat more cheese while at the same time trying to get Americans to eat less fattening foods)  4. Outlaw concentrated animal feeding operations 5. Encourage and subsidize home cooking 6. Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods (works for tobacco, why not pop?) 7. Reduce waste and encourage recycling 8. Mandate truth in labeling  9. Reinvest in research geared toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture.  These are by no means new ideas.  They are, nonetheless, very good ideas and I hope as we see more articles like this one.  As the public becomes more aware of these issues, people will vote for politicians who are willing to make the kind of changes that will truly make a difference in the health of Americans.  Mr. Bittman plans on expanding on these ideas in future columns.  I’ll keep you posted as I see them.  Happy healthful eating!

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