Beware! Consuming diet soda daily ups three times risk of dementia, stroke

The researchers measured the risk of stroke in the group of meant older than 45, and then measured risk of dementia in the group of men older than 60 years of age.

"We do find higher incidents of diabetes and people being overweight in people drinking those artificially sweetened beverages", Zaso says.

"It's important to realize that our study can not draw cause and effect between beverage intake and the risk of stroke or the risk of dementia", said Pase.

People who regularly drank artificially sweetened beverages are also more likely to suffer a stroke, but the full-fat equivalent is not associated with a greater risk of either condition.

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"As the consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks is increasing in the community, along with the prevalence of stroke and dementia, future research is needed to replicate our findings and to investigate the mechanisms underlying the reported associations", they wrote.

According to Bloomberg, the results of the study are in line with those of the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, which also found that higher sugar intake was associated with increased risk of developing Alzheimer's. NYU nutrition expert Marion Nestle tells MedPage Today that those limitations are worth keeping in mind, and that she wishes the authors "had offered a plausible hypothesis for how artificial sweeteners could be causally related to stroke and dementia".

According to a study of 4,372 adults by Boston University, diet fizzy drinks are more likely to cause strokes and dementia than sugary alternatives.

The researchers looked at people who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day of any type - soda, fruit juice and other soft drinks - or more than three per week of soda alone.

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"Our findings indicate an association between higher sugary beverage intake and brain atrophy, including lower brain volume and poorer memory", said corresponding author Matthew Pase.

Think that diet soda is a good way around those calories?

Aspartame, as well as other artificial sweeteners including saccharine, has been found to constrict blood vessels, which can ultimately cause dementia and strokes. The participants were overwhelmingly white, and it is possible that ethnic preferences may influence how often people select sugary or artificially sweetened drinks, Pase said. Importantly, no studies have shown an actual cause-and-effect relationship between consumption of artificially-sweetened drinks and increased risk for a negative health outcome.

The research though is an observational study, which means it did not prove a causal link between consumption of diet drinks and stroke and dementia.

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