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New fizzy drink link to stroke

Monday April 23rd, 2012

People who want to avoid stroke and stay healthy should consider switching from fizzy drinks to coffee, researchers say.

Consuming fizzy drinks daily significantly increases the risk of having a stroke, according to new findings.

And switching to low-calorie drinks makes little difference to the risk, according to a study involving more than 120,000 men and women.

But drinking coffee, especially decaffeinated coffee, can help reduce the risk, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study, conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA, and Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA, found that regular use of fizzy drinks was linked with a 16 per cent increased risk of having stroke.

Drinking coffee reduced it by about ten per cent.

There were 3,400 strokes among the participants over periods of more than 20 years.

The research also found that people who consumed more than one fizzy drink daily had increased rates of high blood pressure and of high cholesterol.

However use of fizzy drinks was also linked to poor exercise levels and high consumption of red meat and whole-fat dairy products - making it difficult to disentangle which were the main causes of ill health.

Researcher Dr Adam Bernstein, of the Cleveland Clinic, said: "Soda remains the largest source of added sugar in the diet.

"What we're beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases – including stroke."

The researchers say that coffee contains several chemicals, such as magnesium, which are thought to have anti-oxidant properties, helping to reduce stroke risk.

Am J Clin Nutr May 2012 vol. 95 no. 5 1190-1199

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Diet & Food | Heart Health | North America

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