A new study from the Boston University School of Medicine has revealed that there is an association between diet soda, strokes, and dementia. In fact, those who imbibe daily are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia and stroke than those who drink it less frequently.
“This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the most common form of dementia,” said neurologist Matthew Pase, the lead author of the study, which followed 2,888 people, aged 45 and over, for the development of a stroke, and 1,484 participants, aged 60 and older, for dementia over a 10-year period.
The study “found that those who reported consuming at least one artificially-sweetened drink a day, compared to less than one a week, were 2.96 times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blood vessel blockage, and 2.89 times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease,” according to the American Heart Association.
In the defense of diet soda, the American Beverage Association put out a statement, saying: “Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact.”
Pase also noted that studies like this cannot definitively prove that drinking artificially-sweetened soft drinks is linked to strokes or dementia, but people should still exercise caution regarding their intake of such beverages.
As Christopher Gardner, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center pointed out, “Nobody ever said diet sodas were a health food.” He added, “Have more water and have less diet soda, and don’t switch to real soda.”
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