Diet drinks linked to metabolic disorders

New York: Diet drinks (sodas) may be linked to a number of diseases including metabolic syndrome- high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, a big waist, high triglycerides (a blood fat) and low HDL (good) cholesterol.

Metabolic syndrome is believed to be a risk factor for heart disease, according to the report published in the Journal of Circulation

Researchers collected food questionnaires from about 6,000 middle-aged people over several years. Those who drank less than one soda per day were about half as likely to develop metabolic syndrome as those who drank more than one.

Previous studies have suggested (but not proven) that drinking soda may be a marker for a number of factors this study didn’t fully account for:

* an unhealthy lifestyle generally (some of which was controlled for in this study)
* an increased taste for sweet foods triggered by sweet-tasting beverages, regardless of the source of the sweetness (this is only a hypthesis)
* lower economic status (Soda is cheaper than many healthier beverages, meaning people with less money–whom other studies have suggested are at higher risk for heart disease–are more likely to drink them.)

Other researchers have suggested that drinking diet soda is a marker for a desire to lose weight, which could explain why those who drink diet soda appear to be at elevated risk of metabolic syndrome.