A New Study Links Diet and Artificially Sweetened Beverages to Increased Heart Issues

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A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that artificially sweetened drinks are linked to the same cardiovascular risks as their full-sugar counterparts.

While sugar has a known link to heart-health issues, researchers have now found that artificial sweeteners have a similar tie. The study found that of the 104,760 participants, those who consumed drinks—think coffees, diet sodas and juices—with low or no-calorie sweeteners including aspartame, stevia and sucralose had a higher risk of heart disease when compared with people who did not drink sweetened beverages at all.

“Our study suggests artificially sweetened beverages may not be a healthy substitute for sugar drinks, and these data provide additional arguments to fuel the current debate on taxes, labeling and regulation of sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages,” said lead researcher Eloi Chazelas, PhD student at the University of Paris North, in a press release.

The study analyzed data from French volunteers participating in the French NutriNet-Sante, an ongoing nutritional study that asks participants to complete three validated web-based 24-hour dietary records every six months, according to CNN. The study began in 2009 and is expected to conclude in 2029.

The bottom line: While artificial sweeteners may aid in weight loss or regulating blood sugar levels for those with diabetes or prediabetes, they should be consumed in moderation. So the next time you reach for an artificially sweetened drink, consider water or other unsweetened drinks, first—your heart will thank you.

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