HEART HEALTH: Is diet soda really better for you? - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HEART HEALTH: Is diet soda really better for you?


Matt Breen asked: "Dr. Artang some might have heard of study recently published about association of diet soda of cardiovascular disease and death. What can you tell us about it?"

Dr. Artang said, "A study recently presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting by our colleagues from university of Iowa examined by questionnaire showed post menopausal women who drank 2 or more cans of diet soda per day had slightly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death, than women who drank 1 or less per day. But you need to understand it was not 100% of them had disease and the other group didn't have anyone. It was 8.5% versus 7 %. So both heavy diet soda drinkers and less heavy drinkers got disease, but the ones who drank 2 or more per day had slightly more likelihood of disease."

Matt Breen asked, "What is your interpretation of the study?"

Dr. Artang answered, "I always think of what was our bodies designed to drink when the human race developed. Did our ancestors have soda makers, juice pressers with huge amount of sugar added. They drank water when they got thirsty. The bottom line is this, if you think diet soda is healthier, than regular soda, the answer is no. There are many chemicals for taste and conservation that we do not know the long term effect of. If you think orange juice, grape juice and lemon juice are healthier than soda, the answer is, the one you buy from the store have same amount of sugar in them as a regular soda. If you press oranges your self it still has a lot of sugar in it, but without all the conservation chemicals."

Matt Breen asked, "So what are people going to drink now with the summer coming?"

Dr. Artang said, "The first and healthiest choice is always regular water, not enhanced water but regular water. If you want to enhance it do with freshly presses lemon, or orange or grape to give it some taste but if you use chemicals/enhancers the healthy point is lost. If you like an orange or lemon juice, all that sugar is not necessary and dilute your juice to half water, half juice or 1/3 juice, 2/3 water. A cold soda diet or not once in a while is fine, daily soda of any type is going to have long term health risks."

Matt Breen asked, "What about the children and youth?"

Dr. Artang said, "All we talked about applies to the children and youth. It is very important for parents to understand all that sugar in juices is completely unnecessary and harmful for children and will add to the childhood obesity and early diabetes. That goes also for Gatorade or similar products that you see in every children sport event and everyone thinks they are benefiting the children by giving them sports drinks. They are also full of sugar and chemicals similar to soda. The sugarfree ones still have chemicals in them for color and preservation. Unless your kids are doing endurance sport beyond 2 hour non-stop exercise, electrolytes are not necessary. Water and fresh fruits are the way to go. That is the only way we are going to stop the obesity and diabetes epidemic, otherwise our children are going to live shorter than their parents generation."

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