Two or more diet drinks a day increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and the likelihood of an early death, research suggests.
A study involving more than 80,000 women found that drinking two or more diet drinks a day - including fizzy drinks and fruit-based diet drinks - increased the risk of stroke by 23 per cent.
The study found the women also had an increased risk of developing heart disease (29 per cent) and an increase risk of dying of 16 per cent.
Women who were also obese had more than double the risk of stroke.
Dr Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, said: "Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet.
"Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease."
While it’s still unclear exactly the effect artificially sweetened beverages have on consumers – or if the relationship is just a correlation – the solution is pretty simple: water is the best choice of drink.