Diet fizz ups risk of stroke and dementia

A diet soda a day might affect dementia risk study suggest

For the studies, researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a study that aims to identify common factors or characteristics that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Rethink that can of diet soft drink you crack open every afternoon: a new study suggests it could heighten your risk of stroke or dementia. "Rather than saying avoid this and that, we want to quantify what food and beverages might be the best in terms of preserving brain as it ages", he said. For the dementia analysis, they excluded participants who had prevalent dementia, mild cognitive impairment or other significant neurological disease at baseline and those who were younger than 60 years old.

Pase authored the study and also says the outcomes can be just as bad consuming diet drinks with artificial sweeteners.

The participants recorded their eating and drinking habits in questionnaires and they were then followed up after 10 years.

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After adjusting for factors that could influence the results, such as age, sex, education, calorie intake, exercise and smoking, people who had at least one diet drink a day had an nearly three times increased risk of dementia or stroke. This translates into less than two-dozen cases of stroke or dementia among regular low-calorie sweetened beverage users.

The results showed that people who frequently drink sugary beverages, such as sodas and fruit juices are more likely to have poorer memory and a smaller brain size.

According to a new study, just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, with researchers also finding the beverages have a "worrying association" with dementia.

As our readership is well aware, low-calorie sweeteners have been extensively reviewed by government safety authorities around the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and proven to be safe for consumption.

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The researchers found that 3 percent of the participants had suffered a stroke and 5 percent had developed dementia, most of which were cases of Alzheimer's disease. However, the impact on stroke risk remained. However, they speculate that artificially sweetened beverages could be affecting the blood vessels, eventually triggering strokes and dementia.

"I don't think we have the evidence to tell people to stop drinking artificially sweetened beverages, but I don't think we have the evidence to tell people that switching to drinking them will improve their brain health", said Hannah Gardener.

"Both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks may be hard on the brain", Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Miami, and colleagues wrote in a commentary in the same journal.

The study's authors noted that the main limitation of the research was that it only shows a trend among one group of people and was not designed, or able, to prove cause and effect. They found that these sweet beverage drinkers had risk factors for early-stage Alzheimer's disease including prematurely aged brains, smaller overall brain volume, poor episodic memory and a smaller hippocampus. "Surely we should be trying to help consumers reduce their calorie intake, not presenting unproven claims". "Artificial sweeteners may have effects in the body that we haven't begun to explore", he concluded. "This study adds strength to that, and also says they may not be great for your brain, specifically", she said.

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