A daily can of diet fizzy drink 'increases risk of heart attack or stroke'
- Those who drink diet soft drinks daily are '43 per cent more likely' to have heart attacks
- Carbonated drinks can cause long-term liver damage similar to that of chronic alcoholism
Last updated at 11:01 AM on 1st February 2012
The new findings have suggested that just a couple of daily cans of the supposedly 'healthier' carbonated drinks, such as lemonade or cola, can raise the risk of liver damage, as well as potentially causing diabetes and heart damage.
Previous analysis of soft drinks has shown that the soft drinks, which have a substantial amount of artificial sweeteners, can cause liver disease similar to that caused by chronic alcoholism.
'Diet' fizzy drinks are marketed as a healthy option in comparison to 'full fat' alternatives as they have fewer calories.
But their genuine health benefits remain unclear, with some research suggesting they trigger people's appetites even more.
They found those who drank diet soft drinks every day were 43 per cent more likely to have suffered a 'vascular' or blood vessel event than those who drank none, after allowing for pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Ms Gardener said: 'Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes.
'The mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear.'
She added, however, that the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect 'vascular events' are not clear, and that more research was needed into the subject before significant conclusions could be drawn about the health consequences of soft drink consumption.
Diet soft drinks often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which has been linked to other health problems such as cancer. However to date, heath watchdogs, including the UK's Food Standards Agency, have ruled out any link to ill-health.
The latest study appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.