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Diet soft drinks linked to increased risk of stroke- study

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Diet calorie-free drinks could increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, a new French study has shown. 

The study involved 103,000 participants who were followed for a period of nine years to determine if there was a link between artificial sweeteners and heart problems, according to The Times.

The researchers revealed that people who consumed food or drink containing calorie-free sweeteners every day had a nine per cent higher risk of heart disease while those who consumed aspartame, an artificial sweetener present in low-calorie drinks, were 23 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

The participants had an average of 43mg of sweeteners a day, the equivalent of one packet of table-top sweetener or 100ml of diet soda.

Artificial sweeteners contain sucralose and aspartame, a white odourless powder 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Although free of calories, it is hard to clearly determine whether artificial sweeteners are harmful to health.

The NHS says that research into sweeteners and appetite stimulation is “inconsistent”.

A separate study published British Medical Journal recommends reducing the consumption of diet drinks and foods.

“Research into sweeteners shows they’re perfectly safe to eat or drink on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet,” says Dietitian Emma Carder, adding that they can be a useful alternative for people with diabetes who need to watch their blood sugar levels while still enjoying their favourite foods.

“Like sugar, sweeteners provide a sweet taste, but what sets them apart is that, after consumption, they do not increase blood sugar levels.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is evaluating these chemicals to gain a better understanding.

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