FRIDAY, Feb. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Among postmenopausal women, consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) is associated with an increased risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in Stroke.

Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues examined the correlation between self-reported consumption of ASB and stroke, stroke subtypes, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality in an analytic cohort of 81,714 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, which included postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at baseline. Participants were followed for a mean of 11.9 years.

The researchers found that after they controlled for multiple covariates, those women consuming the highest level of ASB (more than two per day) versus those who consumed ASB never or rarely (less than one per week) had a significantly greater likelihood of all end points except hemorrhagic stroke, with adjusted hazard ratios of 1.23 for all stroke, 1.31 for ischemic stroke, 1.29 for coronary heart disease, and 1.16 for all-cause mortality. High consumption of ASB was correlated with a significantly increased risk for small artery occlusion ischemic stroke in women with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus (hazard ratio, 2.44). In women with a body mass index ≥30 kg/m², high consumption of ASB was correlated with a significantly increased risk for ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 2.03).

“Artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease,” Mossavar-Rahmani said in a statement.

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