Nightly News | February 09, 2011
>>> and new health concerns are being raised tonight about diet soda and people who dlirink it every day. a new study has found what seems to be a connection between daily consumption of diet soda and heart attacks and strokes and a whole lot of people who drink a ton of it are about to sit up and take notice. our own tom costello with us tonight from washington. hey, tom, good evening.
>> reporter: hi, brian. the study was done by researchers at the university of miami med center and columbia university . the question is whether there's something in diet soda , perhaps the sodium, that raises the risk of these events. the study followed more than 2500 new yorkers for more than nine years. the average age, 69. among those who drank diet soda every day, there was a 61% higher risk of heart attack and stroke compared to those who avoided diet sodas .
>> i think this study is consistent with other studies indicating a possible association between frequent diet soda consumption and vascular disease risk.
>> reporter: in the u.s., stroke is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. more than 137,000 people die every year. a leading nutritionist says she'd like to see americans cut back on diet sodas .
>> you know, occasionally once or twice a week that's just fine, but the reality is, is that there are many people out there that are getting three and four diet sodas a day and those are the people i'm particularly worried about.
>> reporter: but in a statement today, the american beverage association says there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that diet soda uniquely causes increased risk of vascular event or stroke. the association goes on to say it appears that the investigators failed to control for two important variables, family history of stroke and weight gain in their analysis. it's important to note that this study was not peer reviewed, which is the most rigorous type of scrutiny given medical studies and it's not clear whether diet soda drinkers have something else in common that would be a contributor.
>> tells me we'll be hearing more about this one. tom costello in washington. tom, thanks.