Researchers followed 104,760 participants and found that people who drink large amounts of either sugared drinks or artificially sweetened beverages are at increased risk for developing new heart disease such as stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), heart attacks or acute coronary syndrome (J Am Coll of Cardiol, Nov 2020;76(18):2175). Many people use artificially sweetened drinks because they like the sweet taste and want to avoid sugared drinks, arguably the most health-risky food component ingested by North Americans today (J Amer Heart Assoc, May 20, 2020; Circulation, April 30, 2019;139:2113-2125).

Artificial Sweeteners, Hunger and Weight Gain
You may have to take large amounts of artificially-sweetened drinks to suffer serious health consequences, but much of the literature shows that artificial sweeteners make you hungry so that you eat more food to increase risk for weight gain and diabetes (J Pharmacol Pharmacother, Oct-Dec 2011;2(4):236-243).
• A review of 30 studies followed for up to 10 years showed that artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevioside, are associated with weight gain, increased waist circumference, and higher incidence of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart attacks (Can Med Assoc J, Jul 17, 2017;189(28):E929-E939).
• A detailed review of animal studies showed that artificial sweeteners are associated with weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer and other health hazards (J Pharmacol Pharmacother, Oct-Dec 2011;2(4):236-243).
• People who took one diet drink a day were three times more likely than non-diet soda drinkers to suffer a stroke (Stroke, April 20, 2017), and for having poorer memory, smaller brains and markers of accelerated brain aging (Alzheimer’s & Dementia, March 5, 2017). They were also three times more likely than non-diet drinkers to become demented.

Sugared Drinks Are Even More Harmful
One can of sugar-sweetened soda contains 25 to 50 grams of sugar, the recommended upper limit for sugar for an entire day. Several research papers associate all sugared drinks with:
• weight gain and diabetes (BMJ, 2015;351:h3576),
• high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes (Circulation, 2012;125:1735-1741), and
• increased risk for: diabetes (Diabetes Care, 2009;32:688-694).

My Recommendations
Sugar-sweetened beverages cause the highest rises in blood sugar to increase risk for obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, certain cancers and premature death. Artificially-sweetened drinks have been shown to make you hungry to increase risk for obesity and the diseases it causes. The safest drink for quenching thirst appears to be water. Unsweetened coffee and tea appear to be safe also.
Drink Water Instead of Sweetened Drinks
Artificial Sweeteners, Obesity and Diabetes
Artificial Sweeteners Alter Gut Bacteria