Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.
How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.
If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 5th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.
This was originally posted on my old blog on February 5, 2011.
Diet Soda: A Stroke of Genius or Just a Stroke
I drink diet cola. I’ve done so for years — most of my adult life, in fact. Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, it doesn’t really matter. They both pretty much taste the same to me. In fact, I generally have several tall glasses a day. I also put Splenda, rather than sugar, in my coffee to sweeten it up.
For what it’s worth, I don’t drink diet sodas or use artificial sweeteners as way to lose or control my weight. I actually like the taste of diet drinks better than those of the regular, sugar-sweetened versions of such beverages. To me, the non-diet versions taste too sweet, almost sickeningly sweet.
So why am I making this diet cola obsession confession? It’s because I saw a blurb in The USA Today about a link between the consumption of diet drinks and strokes and heart attacks. I Googled “diet soda and stroke” and was directed to an article recently published on the US News website. According to that article, Hanna Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, presented a paper before the International Stroke Conference this year in Los Angeles. Seriously, who knew there was such a thing as an International Stroke Conference?
But I digress. “In our study,” said Dr. Gardener, “we saw a significant increased risk [of stroke or heart attack] among those who drank diet soda daily and not regular soda.” Yes, according to the study, daily diet soda drinkers, like me, have a 61% higher risk of stroke or heart attack than people who drink no soda of any kind.
Egads! (I’ve always hoped for an excuse to use that word in a blog post. “Yikes” is so yesterday.)
I found it interesting that the average age of the 2,564 people in the nine year study was 69, so relatively speaking, I’m a youngster. The survey was based upon people who completed food questionnaires about the type of soda they drank and how often they drank it. And we all know how honest people are about divulging their vices when completing questionnaires. Not that drinking diet soda is a vice, of course. Plus, if you follow a group of elderly people over a long period of time, you’re bound to find a fairly significant incidence of stroke and heart disease, regardless of what kind of soda they do or don’t drink.
The truth is that Dr. Gardener could find no chemical or biological explanation for her findings. In fact, Dr. Patrick Lyden, chief of neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who was not involved in the research, reviewed the findings and said, “My first thought was that the correlation has to be accidental.” Aha!
Perhaps regularly ingesting large quantities of artificial sweeteners in soft drinks (or coffee) actually has little bearing on the higher incidence of stroke and heart attack among the elderly. There are all kinds of factors that might contribute to the incidence of stroke and heart disease. I mean this was a survey of New Yorkers, for crissake. You know that living in New York City, in and of itself, is stress inducing and is hazardous to one’s health.
Did you think about that, Hannah Gardener? Some epidemiologist you are, bee-atch!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go grab myself a nice, refreshing glass of Diet Coke.
A note from Fandango: Ten years have gone by since I wrote this post. I still drink diet soda, although I prefer caffeine free Diet Coke these days. I also still put Splenda in my coffee. And I have neither had a heart attack nor a stroke.