February is heart month, so this month I will highlight some of the food choices that you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease.  It is becoming more apparent that there is more to a heart healthy diet than consuming less saturated fat.  Every week this month I will look at one food or food group that can influence your risk of developing heart disease. 


Diet Soda

Did you think that diet soda was a healthy choice?  Some people think that since it has no calories they can drink as much as they want….and they consume it on a daily basis.  Think again!!!  A new study that was just published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily had a 43% greater chance of having a stroke than people who did not consume any soft drinks at all. 


The researchers do not know exactly what is happening in the body to cause this reaction.  What we do know is that soft drinks (diet or regular) do not add any nutritional value to the diet.  We do know that they can be an occasional treat because they taste good. 


The take home message here is: Soft drinks can be included in the diet on an occasional basis.  They are a treat to be enjoyed on a special occasion, not  something that we need to have on a daily basis.