Study finds diet soda may raise your risk of stroke and dementia

Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully.

On Thursday, two studies by the same group of researchers gave soda drinkers-both diet and regular-a whole new reason to drop the habit entirely.

"While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not - and can not - prove cause and effect". Its more “hypothesis-generating.”.

Lead researcher Matthew Pase, PhD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues published their results online in Stroke on April 20.

"Our study provides further evidence to link consumption of artificially sweetened beverages with the risk of stroke", the team wrote.

For Pase's research, he looked more than 4,000 people coming out of the Framingham Heart Study - an ongoing study that began in 1948 and closely followed the health trajectories of thousands of USA residents.

At the end of the follow-up period, the researchers found 97 cases of stroke, 82 of which were ischemic (caused by blockage of blood vessels), and 81 cases of dementia, 63 of which were diagnosed as Alzheimer's disease. Of those, 82 were ischemic.

MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE - One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. The results were adjusted for variables such as age, sex, caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking. In these studies, the researchers looked at the seventh cycle for the offspring, from 1998 to 2001, and the second cycle for the grandchildren, from 2008 to 2011. It doesn't prove cause and effect. When you see these kinds of associations, you want to always ask what is the biological plausibility, what is the mechanism that might be causing this?”.

All this, said Dean M. Hartley, director of Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer's Association, points to an important reminder: Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation.

“We have a robust body of literature on the adverse effects of sugary drinks.

Research has long shown that artificially sweetened drinks are not health drinks. "Also, when used to replace food and drinks with added sugars, it can help people with diabetes manage blood glucose levels". Another study found a link between diet drinks and stroke, myocardial infarction and vascular death. Many individuals trying to manage their obesity and diabetes often include foods and beverages containing no- and low-calorie sweeteners in their diets as a way to manage their condition.

Although the researchers suggest that people should be cautious about regularly consuming either diet sodas or sugary beverages, it is premature to say their observations represent cause and effect.

In the study, those who drank diet soda were more likely to be diabetic, but it isn't clear whether the diet soda actually contributed to the development of the diabetes, or if diabetics were just simply more likely to drink diet soda. "And don't switch to real soda". "We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages".

  • Lila Blake