Diet drinks: Evidence mounts against artificial sweeteners – leader comment

Diet drinks may not be as healthy as some people believe (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)
Diet drinks may not be as healthy as some people believe (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)
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New research that has found a link between diet drinks and serious health conditions should make us all think twice about people who offer easy answers.

Diet drinks are supposed to be healthy. But then along comes a major scientific study – involving more than 80,000 women – which finds that people who drink two or more diet drinks have an increased risk of getting heart disease, having a stroke or dying early.

It is important to stress that the researchers found a correlation and did not prove causation.

It may or may not be true that artificial sweeteners put your life at risk; it could instead be that people who buy diet drinks are trying to compensate for a poor diet or that they take less exercise.

So further studies to establish the specific health effects of the various artificial sweeteners on the market are certainly warranted.

READ MORE: Diet drinks ‘unhealthy and make no difference to weight gain’

One leading expert said the new research added to evidence suggesting it was “prudent” to limit consumption of diet beverages – yet another feather in the cap for those who follow the age-old wisdom of “all things in moderation”.

But it is perhaps also a warning against those who promise easy answers – in this case, a sweet drink with no calories, no apparent consequences – particularly when there is money to be made.

READ MORE: Scots children drinking more than 600k sugary drinks a day