Boston University Researchers Find Diet Drinks Risk Stroke, Dementia

by Jared Lewis April 22, 2017, 0:33

People who drink fruit juices and pop, even diet pop, could be at risk for poor memory, smaller brains and a higher risk of stroke or dementia.

Rachel Johnson, past chairwoman of the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, said: "We know that limiting added sugars is an important strategy to support good nutrition and healthy body weights, and until we know more, people should use artificially sweetened drinks cautiously".

People who drink one can or more diet soda per day are three times more likely to suffer from the conditions, the researchers found. The main limitation, Pase said, is the important point that an observational study like this can not prove that drinking artificially-sweetened drinks is linked to strokes or dementia, but it does identify an intriguing trend that will need to be explored in other studies. But since diet drinks, which are sweetened beverages are famous, further research should be conducted to find a solid proof as per the researchers. The data collected did not distinguish between the types of artificial sweeteners used in the beverages. Some of those in the diet drinks were likely saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, or sucralose, the researchers said.

"There is little conclusive existing evidence on this subject, however others have reported a link between SSB consumption and stroke and the direct causal pathways linking SSB and vascular outcome which is why both the World Health Organisation and American Heart Association / American Stroke Association are actively engaged in campaigns to reduce the intakes of SSBs", she said.

In the study cited in Alzheimer's & Dementia, the researchers found that higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a pattern consistent with preclinical Alzheimer's, including smaller total brain volume and poorer episodic memory.

Matthew Pase, a fellow in the MED neurology department and an investigator at the FHS who is corresponding author on both papers, says that excess sugar has always been associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, but little is known about its long-term effects on the human brain.

"Both sugar and artificially sweetened soft drinks may be hard on the brain", Sacco writes.

People who drink just one can of a diet soft drink daily risk tripling their chance of suffering from a stroke or dementia, according to a study.

Matthew Pase from Boston University School of Medicine said it is highly recommended to drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

Diet soda drinkers looking to save on calories could be doing themselves a disservice.

Over seven years, researchers studied thousands of people over the age of 45 from the area of Framingham, Mass., on their drinking and eating habits.

The authors therefore emphasized that brain damage such as stroke or dementia is a result of several factors and that the best prevention is to follow healthy living rules (balanced diet and physical exercise). These patients were also three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's. An editorial accompanying the study noted this finding-and that it contradicted other studies that found the opposite.

He added "Nobody ever said diet sodas were a health food". His group has recommendations online at alz.org/10ways.

"Artificial sweeteners provide an intensely sweet taste without any calories which can actually cause you to crave more sweet foods and drinks", Ms Beck said. He chose to study sugary drinks as a way of examining overall sugar consumption.


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