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Death in a can? Diet soda linked to strokes, heart attacks

There has never been a more compelling reason to break your diet.

There have long been reports that the sugar substitutes used in diet sodas have links to cancer. But now reports are claiming that diet sodas are also linked to stroke and heart disease.

Like anything, it's consuming diet drink products in excess that can cause health risks, but a new study indicates that daily drinkers of diet sodas subject themselves to increased risk for vascular disease.

The study, a collaboration between Columbia University and the University of Miami, spanned nine years and followed 2,500 New Yorkers who each drank diet soda every day, according to a Today Show report.

It found that those who drank diet soft drinks on a daily basis had a 61 percent higher risk of "vascular events," including heart attacks and strokes. The study did not look at what types of diet sodas were consumed or at how much was consumed per day. It is a preliminary report.

The American Beverage Association has come out in stern opposition to the study, suggesting the link cannot be pinned to diet soda consumption uniquely (it's a coincidence!)

So should you damn your diet drinks for good? Dr. Miriam Nelson of Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition says a diet drink once or twice a week is fine, but three or four a day makes her worry.

NBC's chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, cautions against artificial sweeteners in general, saying their overuse has even given us a still-bigger sweet tooth — but even she indulges in a few diet drinks.

Tell us, does it make you think twice about going low (or no) cal?

Watch the Today Show report below:

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