Diet Drinks Associated with Stroke

We are so attached to our food and drink that it pains me when I have to tell you something bad about what you might love to drink!

I have never ever recommended artificially sweetened sodas or “diet” anything! To me, that whole industry is a multi-billion dollar campaign effort to get you to drink and eat things that aren’t, by definition, “food” anymore. The entire diet beverage industry depends on the illusion of you thinking that diet drinks are healthy and will help lose weight. When you put something artificial into a normal food… it’s no longer food by definition. It’s now something synthetic. It doesn’t naturally appear on the planet. It’s a manufactured food (or drink). Here’s where I’m going with this:

Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke in the United States, that is startling and should be considered a national emergency!


It can happen to anyone at any time with no warning. With a massive attack, you could be doing something and 5 minutes later you’re dead. Again, no warning. How terrifying! It occurs when blood flow to a part of your brain gets cut off and oxygen deprivation occurs. The brain starts to die over a few minutes and with it, balance, memory and muscle control are lost. A new study has found a correlation with sodas and strokes, that’s where I’m going with all this.


A large STUDY published last month (Jan 2019) that was based upon women over 50. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association were part of it: Drinking 2 (or more) artificially sweetened drinks each day increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and dying in general. I’ve been warning people about this since 1999.

And there’s more research that is FAR more disturbing. It’s based upon data collected over 12 years, so it’s not a questionable conclusion based on a year where the results could be haphazard and dismissible. The data suggests that consuming just 5 diet drinks (sodas, juices, other) correlates to a much higher risk of stroke and heart disease, and in fact a dramatically higher risk of dying early from any cause. All cause mortality went up!
This data was extrapolated from a study on people over the age of 50, who did not have other major health problems. They were essentially well, but after drinking artificially sweetened drinks for 12 years, a lot of them had a stroke! Oh man, where do I begin with this?!

What’s wrong with water?!
Water does not come with the risk that one day someone will have to change your adult diapers. Water makes sense, yet some health practitioners recommend “diet” beverages as a way to cut calories, support weight loss or improve health status. What a joke.
The study that I’ve been referring to is entitled: Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative.
It found something very wrong with diet sodas… correction, “diet drinks!” So the astonishing findings do not apply just to fizzy pop, it could apply to any drink, even juice. And this is not the first. It’s probably the thousandth! Sodas are the the focus of many studies and I haven’t found one that says it improves life span, or improves heart health, blood flow, or anything like that… in any way.

The study finds your risk for a hemorrhagic stroke is dramatically higher if you drink a lot of diet sodas or diet juices or other diet drinks. No particular brand is the problem, it’s the artificial chemicals inside of these drinks. It’s egregious that some clever advertisment agencies can pitch these things to you as if they’re a healthy alternative. It’s really up to you to know better.

Do you need a study to tell you that cigarettes can cause emphysema now?
Do you need one to conclude that carbs causes obesity?
Do you need one to conclude that diet drinks can lead to stroke?
Well you might have one now! The newest research was published in STROKE. Over 80,000 women were studied, most between the ages of 55 and 79. Drinking a couple of diet drinks each day (335ml which is the amount in a typical can of soda) increases your risk for stroke by 23% compared to women who drink less than one per week.

What I have never understood is why practitioners with a solid education such as some (not all) nutritionists, nurses, pharmacists, PAs, doctors and diabetes experts think that space-alien altered chemicals are still good for human beings to consume?! These are white-coat professionals who you visit and pay good money to for advice, WHY for Pete’s sake are they recommending this trash? Is it your job to explain an experts job to an expert? The job is to improve your health, and there is nothing healthy about artificial ingredients. It’s common sense. Artificial things are just THAT. A-R-T-I-F-I-C-I-A-L. I write an opinion column, that’s my opinion.

Find me one study before you email me upset about this. I already know that a little bit of this artificial sweetener replaces 16 spoonfuls of regular sugar… true, that still doesn’t make it healthy. Sugar isn’t an excitotoxin, it’s not an endocrine disruptor, and most of all sugar (glucose) is needed to keep you alive. Sugar is not evil. If you want soda or juice, and I’m not recommending a lot of that, get REGULAR versions, not the “diet” version.

Experts should be recommending water! It’s hydrating and cleansing. Why not a nice herbal tea that has some kind of medicinal benefit? For example chamomile, spearmint or hibiscus?

Obviously low-calorie foods are better for weight loss. But there is a question mark about low calorie sweeteners and if those are specifically better at causing weight loss. The studies are mixed. I personally do not think they are. Herbal tea and pure, fresh filtered water has a health benefit. If you need soda or juice, drink the regular kind, not the “diet.” Artificial foods and fake foods do not, it’s obvious and it’s common sense.
This is my take:
a) I’ll take the real sugar grown from the Earth if I want something sweet
b) Why do we as a nation need all this sugar anyway!
c) Who went and made water a four letter word (or plain sugar for that matter?)

Artificial chemicals (sweeteners, preservatives, dyes and other endocrine disruptors) stick to a trillion cells. They don’t come unglued. They seem to mess up your estrogen and testosterone ratio. They trigger the release of other chemicals in your body like cytokines that lead to full-body inflammation. Some are potent excitotoxins. They’re manufactured. It’s not something that grows on Earth. It’s just weird stuff that produces as its end result, some degree of anxiety, insomnia, obesity, cancer and now stroke. Almost 70% of stroke survivors end up with disability!


If survived, a stroke can leave one paralyzed and sometimes in need of nursing home care. Others are left bed-ridden. Other post-TIA or stroke disabilities include confusion, inability to speak or understand language, poor memory, difficulty swallowing food (requiring a feeding tube) or blindness and/or hearing loss.In the STROKE study, the researchers abbreviated Artificially Sweetened Beverages as ASB, and here are their published results:
“In women with no prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, high consumption of ASB was associated with more than a 2-fold increased risk of small artery occlusion ischemic stroke hazard ratio =2.44 (95% confidence interval, 1.47–4.04.) High consumption of ASBs was associated with significantly increased risk of ischemic stroke in women with body mass index ≥30; hazard ratio =2.03 (95% confidence interval, 1.38–2.98).”


That’s a lot of scientific terminology to basically say that women (over 50 y.o.) with no prior history of major problems such as heart disease or diabetes… risk of getting a stroke doubles and… they’re pretty confident about their results! The researchers concluded with this, “Higher intake of ASB was associated with increased risk of stroke, particularly small artery occlusion subtype, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality. Although requiring replication, these new findings add to the potentially harmful association of consuming high quantities of ASB with these health outcomes.”

Ask yourself this question: Is the risk worth it to you?
Do you want someone to take care of you, help you with bowel function and feed you? Do you realize drinking these beverages raise your risk for these VERY problems (they are sometimes the consequence of a stroke).
Don’t you prefer to do the above activities of daily living on your own? Of course you do!

How a patient is impacted by their stroke really depends on where the blood flow was cut off. The study did not determine this. The study did not say that all people who drink or eat diet foods and beverages will be impacted either.

DIET SODA does not automatically = STROKE

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS do not automatically = ILLNESS

Be careful how you interpret my article which is merely an opinion piece. Also, the study results were not based upon young individuals, only those who were middle aged and older. Finally, no data was given on the brand of the sweetener, so we can’t pin the tail on one ingredient. It was more of a classification “artificial sweeteners.” As you know there are several different ones.

Nevertheless, according to this study, published in STROKE, consuming certain drinks that are artificially sweetened can significantly raise the risk of dying. Obviously other factors that further raise your risk include being overweight, sedentary, nutritionally deficient in essential nutrients or fatty acids that support brain health, and of course your genes. And more.

The Following Symptoms Could Mean Impending Stroke:
* A rise in blood pressure Numbness, weakness in the face, hands, arms or legs
* Sudden severe headache
* Coordination issues – difficulty walking
* Tingling in your face, hands or arms
* Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
* Inability to get the proper words out, difficulty speaking
* Trouble thinking or knowing where you are
* Dysphasia, trouble swallowing
* Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes

In Closing
While it may seem like the first step to take if you’re on a diet… consuming “diet” sodas or diet juice drinks are not wise. In my opinion, they aren’t healthiest solution and they should not be step one, step two or ever consumed! I understand your confusion because “diet” anything seems like it should work, and it seems that it should be an easy way for you to lose weight but it’s not. It’s not even close. It will probably not even help you, and as you’ve just learned it could hasten major medical problems.

There are better ways to control and manage weight. While I’m not a doctor and I cannot advise you personally, I am a pharmacist and a real-live person and for what it’s worth.

The fastest way to lose weight is this way:
Manage your thyroid if it is low. Take thyroid medication and/or supplements because your thyroid gland is what burns fat. It’s your thermogenic switch.

Slow down while eating. If you eat fast you will eat more.

Turn off stimulating television while you eat. If you’re watching the news, or Survivor, or something scary you’ll probably eat more. LOL! It’s true.

Minimize your portions slowly. If you’re used to eating a big plateful, or two, then cut back on the portion by 10 or 15% each week. Over time you will feel full after eating smaller amounts. This translates to fewer calories at each meal.

If you’re health disabilities or handicaps will permit it, get up and exercise. Do any form that you can. Maybe you can’t go to spin class because of your knees… that’s fine, try something else. Perhaps you don’t like yoga because of the heat, try a walk in the park or boxing. Whatever it is you can do it.

My amazing mom who I think is so sweet and beautiful (she’s from Paris and is like 4 foot 8, she is 85 and does chair yoga!) She does something. My dad who is 91 worked up until last year as the Ice Cream Man in Ocala, Florida…. actually both mom and dad drove their Ice Cream Trucks right up until last year… this is hard physical work. My point is they were physically active. Do what you can, laying around the house isn’t going to burn off that pepperoni pizza you door-dashed last night, capiche?

(Hope you had water with it not diet soda😜)

I’ve written a best-seller on diabetes! Type II Diabetes sometimes begins with being overweight and those people are incorrectly told to consume ASB (Artificially Sweetened Beverages). And then that raises risk for stroke according to these studies, in the very population that is at MOST risk for it!

Diabetes Without Drugs, The 5-Step Program to Control Blood Sugar Naturally and Prevent Diabetes Complications

In it, I covered all the natural (safe) sweeteners that someone could consume in their quest to balance metabolism and ultimately lose weight. I’m not trying to sell a book, I’m trying to help you. Diabetes Without Drugs contains the information you need to control the cravings you have, and lose weight. I do not think artificial sweeteners are the way to go, I never have. I never will.

The idea of recommending anything artificial to someone who is ill frankly just irritates me! If a body is compromised the last thing you want to do is it tax that person’s liver with something it cannot process. It confuses people, and besides, artificial additives have been shown to make people sick in one way or another, being totally blunt. (I can be blunt now, remember?) I’m not being “nice” anymore. For more on How Being Nice is Killing You, read THIS article.

You know, since 1999, when I first started writing a syndicated column for newspapers (remember those? They were paper with black/white fine print lol!) Anyway… for a VERY long time I’ve been advocating that you stay away from sodas and if you must drink soda drink the regular kind with sugar, not “diet.”

Some of you follow me and listen to me, and even think I’m intelligent. Others think I’m a psycho for going against the popular vote (but I stand by this: Those are some weird nasty chemicals!)

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or cut down on sugar switching to artificial chemicals will not serve you and may harm you as this newest research proves. At the end of the day, it’s such a simple thing to give up. If you enjoy the fizz as much as I do, just buy carbonated waters that are essenced. While not as sweet, they are still delicious and you can always add a dash of pomegranate, grape or pineapple juice to sweeten them naturally. Or sugar. Plain evaporated cane sugar. Yes! Here’s why:
It grows from the Earth.
Your body recognizes that.
It washes clean from your cell.
It’s normal.

You should always take natural cane sugar over the artificial chemical. But over time, work your way to plain water because too much sugar is also not good for you and leads to high cholesterol. Sugar can suppress the immune system, but again, I’d take that over an artificial chemical.

As you minimize sugar and control your sweet tooth and cravings, you’ll find that you can’t tolerate things as sweet. Your taste buds will follow you slowly but surely.

Water is important, your human body is made of it. It’s the best way to filter your lymph glands and clean up your body. I put a drop of essential oil (EO) of lemon, or tangerine or grapefruit (I keep EOs in my purse) and suddenly it tastes more luxurious, plus I get the medicinal benefits of the essential oil. My tip is a pretty cool way to get the benefit of fruit’s oils, without the calories of eating the whole fruit. Plus it makes the water taste fresh!

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2019-03-05T16:41:24+00:00

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