The Diet Soda Fueling This Article Could Be Terrible for Me

Daily consumption of diet soda may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and vascular death.

Yesterday, I learned that daily consumption of diet soda may increase my risk of "stroke, heart attack, and vascular death." When I first read that finding, I calmly set down my can of Diet Coke and Googled "vascular death." As I noted to a colleague, "GHUGHGGHH."

Bad news for John Edwards and my fellow addicts everywhere: According to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, "those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none." The study found no evidence that drinking regular soda increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death. And "diet soft drink users"—their term—who manage to imbibe less frequently (between one soda a month and six a week) did not demonstrate an increased risk, either.

You could say that I consume diet sodas "daily." And I'm not alone: Elton John, Victoria Beckham, Bill Clinton, and Edwards all claim "addictions." User, addict—these terms are apt. For me, diet soda isn't an occasional treat—it's an occupational hazard, one of the few things keeping me from face-planting into my keyboard. It's my version of chain smoking.

It should have been obvious that my excessive consumption of diet soda was not a wholesome choice. But as a press release accompanying the study notes, our "current climate of escalating obesity rates" tends to reinforce the idea that reduced-calorie options are healthier than their alternatives. I want to believe it's not that bad.

Then again, researchers emphasized that the results showed only "a potential association" and no actual "mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events." The impulse to internally defend my diet soda habit was rising. Perhaps some other horrible unknown variable was really to blame?

My tour of justification brought me to the The Calorie Control Council, "an association representing the low-calorie food and beverage industry." Wouldn't you know? The Calorie Control Council is skeptical of these findings. In a press release accompanied by a photograph of an energetic elderly woman, the council dismissed the diet soda-stroke link the last time scientists raised concerns about the drinks. "The findings are so speculative and preliminary at this point that they should be considered with extreme caution," the organization said. It then quoted Dr. Richard Besser, who added, "It's bad because of the science, but it's also bad because of the behavior that it can induce ... I don't think people should change behavior based on this study."

On one hand, scientists warn that diet soda consumption could seriously increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. On the other, a lobbying group representing low-calorie beverages warns us to exercise "extreme caution" before we decide to drink less Diet Coke. Meanwhile, soda companies are suing local governments that claim full-calorie syrupy drinks have a role in obesity. It's true that the "long-term health consequences of drinking diet soft drinks remain unclear." But it's enough for me to lay off the silver can at least one day a week.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user ElectricBurger

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading