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The Link Between Diet Soda Consumption and Stroke

A study to be presented at the International Stroke Conference 2011 in Los Angeles is getting some play in the health news. You can read a good summary here:

U.S News and World Report: Can Diet Soda Boost Your Stroke Risk?

The researchers "evaluated the soda habits of 2,564 people enrolled in the large Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) to see if there was an association, if any, with stroke. The participants were 69 years of age, on average, and completed food questionnaires about the type of soda they drank and how often."

Over 9 years, 22% of the study subjects had a stroke. After controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, physical activity, calorie intake, smoking, alcohol drinking habits, the presence of metabolic syndrome, vascular disease in the limbs and heart disease history those who reported drinking diet soda as opposed to no soda were 48 percent more likely to have a stroke.

In another article covering this same story published by MSNBC
other doctors are quoted as suggesting the problem might be what they eat with the soda--fast food, or possibly something in caramel coloring used to give sodas a brown color, which has been linked to stroke in animal studies.

Alert readers of this blog will, however, remember another equally likely explanation--one that has been known for years, but has received no coverage in the press, because the media get too much advertising money from Coke and Pepsi.

The link between diet soda and stroke may well be the phosphoric acid that is used in the all brown-colored sodas. As documented in my earlier blog post Coke Adds Death, brown-colored sodas are known to damage the kidneys. In fact, drinking as few as two brown-colored sodas--either diet or regular--a day doubles the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Researchers believe the phosphoric acid is the culprit. Phosphates are a known problem for people who already have kidney disease.

It turns out that kidney damage and cardiovascular disease are tightly linked, and the presence of kidney disease often points to the existence of other vascular problems. This makes it very possible that damage to the kidney from phosporic acid is contributing to vascular damage in the brain which leads to stroke.

If phosphoric acid is the problem--and it is likely, since people consuming non-brown colored sodas had a normal risk of chronic kidney disesae, you can avoid it by avoiding heavily-advertised brown sodas like Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, in favor of the light and colored sodas that don't. If in doubt read the label. If it says "phosporic acid" give it a miss. People with diabetes have enough issues to contend with kidney-wise without adding to them.


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