Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Diet soda, metabolic syndrome linked

Los Angeles Times: By Thomas H. Maugh II
Drinking as little as one can of soda a day — regular or diet — is associated with a 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a key predecessor of heart disease and diabetes, according to results released Monday.

Researchers knew that drinking regular sodas contributed to the risk of metabolic syndrome, but this is the first finding implicating diet sodas, according to results published online in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn.

The researchers were uncertain why diet soda seemed to have such a large effect.

The study's lead author, Dr. Ramachandran S. Vasan of the Boston University School of Medicine, said it was unlikely that an ingredient in soda caused the effect. More likely is that consuming sweet sodas changes dietary patterns or that soda was simply a marker for participants' poor eating habits, he said. ...

Soda makers rejected the study. "The assertions defy the existing body of scientific evidence, as well as common sense," said Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive of the American Beverage Assn.

She continued: "It is scientifically implausible to suggest that diet soft drinks — a beverage that is 99% water — cause weight gain or elevated blood pressure."

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