A new study should make heavy diet soda drinkers seriously concerned.
Research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York links drinking two or more artificially sweetened drinks a day to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
Compared to people who turn down diet drinks, sugarless soda guzzlers actually have a 16% higher risk of dying early, according to the study.
The findings are drawn from data of 81,714 post-menopausal women who were studied for an average of 12 years.
The study's lead author, Dr. Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, warned that "well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet."
But they may not realize the "diet" drinks are putting their health at risk.
The study found that drinking diet soda daily increased a person's risk of a stroke by 23% and their risk of heart disease by 29%.
Women, especially obese women, seem to be at the greatest risk of suffering health complications because of their diet soda fix. Obese women drinking two diet sodas a day, or more, doubled their risk of having a stroke according to the research.
While the study does not prove a link between diet drinks and these cardiovascular health conditions, the findings suggest a steady diet of diet soda is not good for your health.
More research also needs to be done to narrow down if a certain type of artificial sweetener is worse for your health, or if other factors are causing the health risks.
The news follows the American Heart Association's warning that there is not enough scientific research to say for certain that low-calorie drinks don't affect a person's risk of heart disease.
Instead of asking for a diet soda at the fast food counter, the study's authors suggest sticking to water or unsweetened tea.