A new study suggests older women who drink diet soda regularly may be on a fast-track to heart disease.
The study, presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual session, looked at nearly 60,000 women ages 50-79 who did not present with a history of heart disease at the start of the study.
Women who said they never or rarely drank diet sodas were compared to women who said they normally consume two or more diet drinks per day.
After nine years, the study found that older women who regularly drank diet beverages were 30-percent more likely to suffer cardiovascular problems and 50-percent more likely to die from heart-related disease.
The American Beverage Association has refuted the study's findings saying there is no causation.
Beverage industry executives are blaming a decline in diet soda sales to worries people have about artificial sweeteners.
Americans cut back on soda again last year, extending a trend that began nearly a decade ago.
U.S. sales volume of carbonated soft drinks fell 3 percent in 2013, according to an annual report by Beverage Digest, an industry tracker. That represents a steeper drop than the 1.2 percent decline in 2012 and the 1 percent drop in 2011.
-------(CNN and The Associated Press contributed to this article.)