Put down your diet soda and listen up. The bubbly zero calorie drink may increase your risk of heart disease, according to new research.

For decades, manufacturers marketed diet colas as a healthier diet-conscious alternative to regular sodas that contain large amounts of sugars linked to health risks such as obesity and diabetes.

Subsequent research tied diet sodas, which replace sugar with exotic sweeteners such as aspartame or stevia, with increase risks for heart disease.

Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes, Hannah Gardener, epidemiologist at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said in a statement. Researchers at Columbia University in New York City also contributed to the study.

The Journal of General Internal Medicine published the study online Jan. 27.

The researchers looked into the diet soda drinking habits of 2,564 residents of northern Manhattan over a 10-year period and found that those who drank diet soda daily had increased risks for vascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

The researchers controlled the volunteers for several factors such as smoking, physical activity, body mass index, diet and alcohol consumption.

No risk was found for people who drank regular soft drinks or drank diet sodas from time to time. The correlation was only found with daily diet soda drinkers.

Daily diet soda drinkers were 43 percent more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack, according to the researchers.

The results lit up comment boards with skepticism about the study, saying it was correlational but didn't point to a cause.

Amazing what passes for science in the medical field. Ever notice that shark attacks increase when ice cream sales increase? Jason Bender from Livonia, Mich. wrote on a Yahoo board. It has nothing to do with it being summertime... Just don't eat ice cream or you will get attacked by sharks!