Sweet beverages linked to dementia

Diet soda has been on the hot seat, since recent studies keep proving that it has negative effects on consumers' health.

"Future studies will need to confirm these findings in other groups of people, and explore what might be underlying any link between artificially-sweetened soft drinks and dementia".

Those in the stroke arm of the study were over the age of 45, while those in the dementia arm were over 60.

"Using Food Frequency Questionnaires has its limitations, especially when the participants are asked to report on their eating/drinking habits over the past year", she said.

They also found that those who drank one a day were almost three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

The first study analyzed brain scans and cognitive tests from about 4,000 people who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day, like soft drinks or juice, or three sodas per week.

"So, it was not surprising to see that diet soda intake was associated with stroke and dementia".

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).

The number of sugary beverages and artificially sweetened soft drinks that the subjects consumed was monitored between 1991 and 2001.

The American Beverage Association reiterated the study doesn't prove cause and effect. What's more, the regular drinkers and are "2.89 times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia". "NIH does not mention zero calorie sweeteners as a risk factor". "America's beverage companies support and encourage balanced lifestyles by providing people with a range of beverage choices -- with and without calories and sugar -- so they can choose the beverage that is right for them".

The research, published in journal Stroke, is based on a heart health study involving residents in Framingham, Massachusetts.

"Now with the growing number of studies that suggest a relationship between artificially-sweetened beverages and vascular risk, I would say reach for a bottle of water before you reach for your artificial sweetened beverages", Sacco added. A more thorough examination would have included all well-established risk factors for stroke and dementia such as socioeconomic status, body mass index, drug use, alcohol intake, family history, and depression.

While emphasizing that the research did not show causation, only a correlation, Pase said in a video explaining the study that diet drinks "might not be a healthy alternative".

Typically, the different types of sweeteners used in diet drinks range from Aspartame, Saccharine and Stevia. They also can lead to brain shrinkage, accelerated brain aging and memory loss, as well as an increased risk of stroke and dementia, according to a pair of studies led by the same team.

"A lot of people assume they must be healthy choices because they are not sugared beverages, but the critical thing for people to understand is we don't have the evidence", Prof Susan Swithers, from the US's Purdue University told the BBC.

  • Santos West