Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Is diet soda good or bad?

Q. A few years ago, I switched from regular soda to diet soda—and lost 12 pounds. My husband tells me diet soda is bad for me, but isn't it better than the sugary stuff?

A. It's great that you stopped drinking sugar-sweetened soda and trimmed down. Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are major contributors to weight gain and other bodily changes that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. But it's not clear whether diet soda is better.

In February, news stories reported on a study that found daily diet soda drinkers were more likely to have a stroke or heart attack or to die from vascular disease over 10 years than those who drank none or less than one a month.

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