May 16, 2017 – Other Factors


Anchor lead: What is it about diet sodas that are risky? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The disturbing link between diet soda consumption and stroke risk reported recently may be the result of a number of factors.  That’s according to Rebecca Gottesman, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins.

Gottesman: We know that people who choose to drink diet sodas may be because their doctors told them to or were told they were borderline diabetic. There may be differences in physical activity amongst these groups that they can’t really capture that well. So although there is certainly a potential concern here, I don’t think we can conclude from this study that sugar sweetened beverages are therefore okay, because we don’t see that same risk. And I don’t think we can conclude causally that there’s any relationship between diet sodas and these other outcomes, but I do think it’s worth paying attention to and understanding a bit more about why this may be the case.   :30

Gottesman notes that even though researchers attempted to account for many other factors that affect stroke risk, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that doesn’t always resolve doubt. She points out though that evidence from other fields is also emerging against consumption of artificial sweeteners, so stay tuned. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.