An increase in diet soda consumption is directly linked to greater visceral adiposity in older adults, reports a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) enrolled 749 patients aged ≥65 between 1992–1996, with diet soda intake, waist circumference, height, and weight measured at baseline and during three follow-ups in 2000–2001, 2001–2003, and 2003–2004 (total 9.4 years follow-up). The survival rates were 79.1%, 73.4%, and 71.0% at the follow-ups, respectively.

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Per interval follow-up, the increase in waist circumference was nearly three times greater among diet soda consumers compared to non-consumers (2.11cm vs. 0.77cm, respectively). The increase in interval waist circumference after adjusting for multiple potential confounders was 0.77cm for non-consumers, 1.76cm for occasional consumers, and 3.04cm for daily consumers.

Because an increase in visceral adiposity is linked to an increase in metabolic syndrome, the authors recommend that older adults decrease their consumption of diet soda to reduce this risk, especially those who are already at high cardiometabolic risk.

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