Diet drinks are harmful for some women

WASHINGTON — Too many diet drinks can spell trouble for older women.

Researchers say postmenopausal women who drink two or more diet drinks are far more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems than women who don’t drink the beverages.

A research team from the University of Iowa combed through data on 59,614 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.

They found that those who down two or more diet sodas or artificially sweetened fruit drinks a day are 30 percent more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event, and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease.

The Women’s Health Initiative, which was launched in 1991, followed 161,808 generally healthy postmenopausal women for 15 years.

Perhaps best known for its 2002 warning on hormone replacement therapy, it also provided a treasure trove of other data related to cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

The University of Iowa research team did not look into why there is a link between diet drinks and heart problems in these women. The team says far more study is needed.

The findings were released at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific session in Washington, DC.

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