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    1 Daily Soda May Boost Heart Disease

    Researchers Point Finger at Diet, Regular Sodas; Industry Officials Disagree

    Explaining the Soda-Heart Disease Link continued...

    The findings don’t surprise Paul Lachance, PhD, acting director of The Nutraceuticals Institute at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a diet and health expert for the Institute of Food Technologists. “It’s plausible,” he says of the link between soda intake and increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

    But he wonders about the true root of the association. It may not be the soda intake itself leading to the increased risk, he says. “People who drink sodas may be giving up drinking healthier beverages,” he says, such as juices, milk, wine, and other beverages.

    Soda Industry Strikes Back

    In a prepared statement, the soft drink industry took issue with the findings. "Blaming one food, beverage, or ingredient as the cause for myriad health problems defies common sense and doesn't agree with the current body of nutritional science," says Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association.

    The Washington, D.C.-based industry group represents many companies that make and distribute nonalcoholic beverages in the U.S.

    "Metabolic syndrome and heart disease are complex problems that have no single cause and no single solution," the statement continues. Soft drinks can be part of a healthy way of life "when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle," it states.

    “We’re underscoring the point the researchers make that it’s an association, not causal,” Neely tells WebMD. “The association found between diet soda and metabolic syndrome is particularly implausible. Diet soda is a beverage with zero calories, and it is 99% water.”

    Diet Soda "a Good Option"

    In a prepared statement issued Monday, the American Heart Association (AHA) also notes that the study does not prove cause and effect.

    More study is needed on sodas before formal recommendations can be made, according to the AHA. Until then, the association views diet soda as “a good option to replace caloric beverages that do not contain important vitamins and minerals.” Diet soda, along with water and fat-free or low-fat milk, are better choices than full calorie soft drinks, according to the AHA.

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