Stroke is it!

Last week, I shared an eye-opening video from the National Center for Science in the Public Interest. In it, this consumer health watchdog hung the soft drink industry out to dry by showing the real story behind those famous soda-swilling polar bears. And it wasn’t pretty. (In case you missed it, you can watch it here.)

The response was swift. And it was about as indignant as you might expect from a business that profits off of our national sugar addiction. Naturally, Coke honchos balked at the insinuation that their products might actually be dangerous.

But this week, they’ve got even more explaining to do… because the damning evidence keeps flooding in.

As part of a new Japanese study, researchers followed 39,786 middle-aged men and women for 18 years between 1990 and 2008. They tracked soda consumption via self-administered questionnaires.

Results showed that stroke risk was significantly higher for people who drank soft drinks every day, compared to those who drank them rarely or never. And this association was especially pronounced among female subjects suffering from ischemic stroke.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. And it’s the No. 1 cause of serious, long-term disability. Meanwhile, nearly half of all Americans drink one or more glasses of soda every day.

So I ask again, what’s to blame for the collective nosedive of our nation’s health?

Soda it is, indeed.

But don’t think that you can avoid this fate by switching to “diet” soda. Previous research has shown that all types of soft drinks can set you up for stroke–even the artificially sweetened kind. And while the risk appears to be higher for women, it can (and does) strike both genders.

The message here is clear. Soft drinks–however they’re sweetened–are nothing but poison disguised in flashy packaging. And they’re slowly killing millions of people every day.