Study: Women who drink diet sodas have higher stroke, heart attack risks

A long term study showed drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day really increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks in women.

Women over age 50 who drank two or more of those drinks like Diet Coke had a 23 percent higher risk of strokes in general and a 31 percent higher risk of strokes involving clotting in smaller blood vessels in the brain.

They were also 29 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease.

"This was the Women's Health Initiative so by design these women were all post-menopausal. Having said that, though, it did show that women who were overweight or obese and African American women in particular have an increased risk. We do know in post-menopausal women you lose that protection of heart disease compared to men, cholesterol is higher, blood pressure is higher. There may be some synergy here," said Dr. Amit Khera, a cardiologist with Parkland Hospital.

On major question left unanswered by the latest study is exactly what ingredient in diet drinks has the adverse health effects.