By Debbi Kim, WBZ Medical Producer

BOSTON (CBS) — If you drink diet soda to help cut down on how many calories you’re consuming, you may actually be increasing your risk of having a stroke.

Corinne Higinbotham drinks several diet cokes a week, “It just quenches my thirst like nothing else.”

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Now a new study finds people who have one diet soda a day are 61 percent more likely to have a stroke, heart attack and other related problems, than those who don’t drink soda at all.

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports.

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Dr. Stephanie Moore, cardiologist at Mass. General Hospital explains, “Diet soda is kind of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we all thing we are doing something good but in actuality, we are increasing our risk for vascular disease, particularly stroke.”

Experts like Dr. Moore say part of the reason is because some diet drinks actually contain more sodium than regular soda. “I think the major culprit is sodium and the artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners have been associated with risk of cancer, migraines, and vascular problems have definitely been linked to artificial sweeteners.”

Higinbotham says the new findings are making her think twice about drinking diet soda, “I probably wouldn’t drink it, if I was told that it was linked to stroke or any other kind of illness like that.”

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Experts say your best bet is to avoid any kind of soda completely or limit yourself to one every once in awhile, and stick to plain old water.