Good health, good sense and good friends are three of life's greatest blessings.

And, of course, good health and good sense could be linked to you saying goodbye to that can of diet soda.

If you’re a woman over 50, it may be time to examine the risks and reconsider popping open that diet drink.

Research consistently shows that there is a health impact of diet soda and isn’t safe for seniors (and most of the population, too).

Specifically, a recent study found that women who are 50 years old and above and drink more than one aspartame diet soda a day, are significantly at risk to have a stroke or a heart attack.

Women over 50 are typically trying to keep a healthy weight during and after menopause. This recent study says reaching for a glass of water, rather than a diet soda could actually save your life.

This study in particular looked at more than 80,000 women aged 50-79. They were tracked for more than 10 years in this longitudinal study. The findings were startling.

Women 50 and above:

  • Were 31 percent more likely to develop a stroke caused by a clot
  • Were 23 percent more likely to have a stroke
  • Were 29 percent more likely to develop heart disease, and at risk for a heart attack
  • Were 16 percent more likely to die by any cause.

The study also discovered that those who drank 2 or more diet drinks a day – even without previous heart disease or diabetes in their family lineage –were nearly 2 ½ times more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot. For African American women, it skyrocketed to nearly 4 times more likely.

The study shows an association, not a cause-and-effect correlation, but still heeds a warning.

The study did not focus on the actual ingredients of the artificially sweetened beverages, so it’s hard to pinpoint which artificial sweeteners are causing the harm.

Also, whether or not the findings would apply to men or younger women, remains unclear.

Besides the increased risk of stroke for women 50 and above, there is mounting evidence that frequent consumption of diet beverages is not good for you.

For example, research points to that diet soda may actually alter how your brain responds to sweetness, impacting the neurotransmitter in your brain that fosters pleasure, reward and motivation. This indicates that when you drink diet soda to lose weight, you may actually be increasing your cravings for sugar and more diet soda.

Diet beverages use artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin, what many believe are the culprits for the related health issues.

Diet sodas have also been linked to:

-a higher risk of obesity and metabolic issues

-heart conditions such as high blood pressure and heart attack

-brain conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

-and Type 2 diabetes to name a few.

Some researchers also believe that diet soda increases your risk for disease because it may be causing increased and chronic inflammation and may be damaging blood vessels.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention there are numerous studies that have found no link between drinking diet soda and bad health outcomes. Many claim those studies are less compelling because they had received funding from those affiliated with the soda industry.

The bottom line?

When reaching to quench that thirst, grab some more water.

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