Does Diet Soda Increase Stroke Risk as Much as Regular Soda?

Does Diet Soda Increase Stroke Risk as Much as Regular Soda?

Sugar is no longer considered just empty calories, but an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. So, what happens if you switch to artificial sweeteners?

What does the latest research on Vitamin D say? Subscribe to’s free newsletter to receive an infographic summary of the main takeaways and Dr. Greger’s recommendations:

Speaking of stroke, did you see the last video? Chocolate and Stroke Risk (

This is part of an extended video series on added sugars. Check out a few of the others:
• If Fructose is Bad, What About Fruit? (
• How Much Fruit is Too Much? (
• How Much Added Sugar is Too Much? (
• Big Sugar Takes on the World Health Organization (

I’ve previously touched on artificial and low-calorie sweeteners if you’re interested:
• Aspartame and the Brain (
• Erythritol May Be a Sweet Antioxidant (
• Effect of Sucralose (Splenda) on the Microbiome (

Have a question about this video? Leave it in the comment section at and someone on the team will try to answer it.

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Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution!
-Michael Greger, MD FACLM

Image Credit: SimonQ via flickr. Images have been modified.
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  1. So, what’s the harm when you don’t compensate by "eating the whole cake?". I drink diet soda every day, and my daily processed sugar intake is very low.

  2. Anecdotally, diet pop like Zevia, etc doesn’t make me crave desserts, etc. As you alluded to it’s the overall dietary patterns of most people who drink pop or switch to diet pop, who aren’t typically plant based. Wish we had better and more applicable studies.

  3. This video had perfect timing for me, I just decided to drastically reduce my sugar intake and was wondering what artificial sugars do to our body.
    Thank you for this concise, informative video! Keep up the good work.

  4. Aspartame has also a lot of negative effects, like cancer risk, abortion risk etc.
    Nice holidays for you Dr. Greger.

  5. I consume a beverage with no-calorie sweeteners, but also consume mostly whole foods, few foods with added sugar. I don’t choose M&M’s.

  6. I have personally tried this no sugar or artificial challenge and find this study to be 100% correct! I had almost zero craving for sugar. I found the natural sweetness in fruit to satisfy any desire for sweets. Same results as cutting back on salt. I used to salt everything heavily. But now I only use light salt a few times a month. Your tastebuds and cravings adjust very quickly. I can say this from personal experience. A big thanks to Dr. Gregor for another great video! 💪🏼👏🏻

  7. Never understood the appeal of sweeteners, I tried some years ago, tasted like crap. Just eat some fruit FFS!

  8. What is this, you mean that there is something other then meat causing major health consequences 🙂
    I quit all sugar three weeks ago and live on a very low carb diet. I do use stevia in my morning coffee and in my daily beet smoothie and it has not caused me to cheat on my low carb keto diet.

  9. Are you kidding me. This is so amazing. I am not very impressed by the study with N=20, but hope more evidence will follow in favour of something I believe its quite likely hypothesis. I consume most of my beverages unsweetened and even when sweet sodas are provided for free, I choose plain water. It is interesting to observe, however, how health conscious people fight for those few diet sodas among all those provided …

  10. But seriously I love drinking massive sodas for a large majority of my calories at work. Sugar helps deal with the stress and helps keep my energy levels up. Also soda is inexpensive compared to fruit.

    Blah, first I had to give up meat and now I am going to have to give up soda….sad panda.

  11. So sugar is bad if you put it on top of food, but it is good if it is inside fruit!? I get it that sugar is empty (of vitamins and minerals) calories, but I find it hard to believe that sugar can be actively harmful.

  12. Also your brain cant think as good if you drink diet because aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are excitotoxins meaning they excite the brain like nicotine and then kill off massive amounts of brain cells. Ntm the formaldehyde created in your brain from this sweetener made from the feces of gm bacteria( modified to consume toxic waste)

  13. I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeteners and now my dentist has told me to quit sugary drinks. Damn it, now I’ve got to drink just water flavoured with lemon juice. Ah well, such is the way of progress. (I get first comment too… yay!) 😆

  14. OMG!! please get somebody else to read the information I cannot tolerate this person’s voice. I’m not trying to be mean but it feels like fingernails going down a chalkboard the information is wonderful. but please for the love of the nation’s health find somebody with a more social and pleasurable voice to listen to!! :-[

  15. Can’t some of this be explained by identifying that people with weight problems (and associated high sugar intake) are more likely to consume diet sodas to try to lose weight?

  16. I LOVE this guy! Thank you for spreading this wonderful knowledge so we can learn to eat healthier 🙂

  17. I get that artificial sweeteners can increase your desire for sugary foods, but has there actually been a study trying to isolate the deleterious effects (if any) of artificial sweeteners? For example, studying the health effects of people consuming the same foods or calories but only replacing the sugar-added foods with artificially-sweetened foods? I’m curious what the standalone "bad effects" of artificial sweeteners are…

  18. dr. gregor, I’d love it if you could make a video about pcos. It’s incredibly complex and I’m very confused. It would be really helpful thank you!

  19. So if I only drink diet soda, but never eat sweet except fruit, I am reducing my risks?
    And maybe even eating more fruit in the long run?

  20. Sugar is not that bad, if you do not gain weight. Associated risk is not the same thing as a risk caused by something. There not much evidence of direct harm caused by sugar independent of weight gain. What would the mechanism be?

  21. Okay so two week challenge? Time to do that in the new year. 😀 Forget about doing it now with all the cookies and stuff around at work and everywhere. xD

  22. OMG, SUGER bad, meat,bad, protein bad, gluten bad, plants with oxolites bad, transFats,bad— Well is there anything left that can be eaten?

  23. i’m not buying it that sugar is bad, the crap it’s put into is bad. not that i eat a lot of refined sugar though, but i don’t buy it that refined sugar is that bad.

  24. It might be a psychological effect too. I guess you can taste quite if it‘s artificial or sugar sweetend (or not at all) so you may feel better not drinking any calories yet so you allow yourself to go for the m&ms?

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