Diet Sodas Linked To Risk Of Stroke and Dementia

Diet Sodas Linked To Risk Of Stroke and Dementia

Artificially sweetened beverages might pose health risks for both your body and your brain, a new study suggests.

Artificially sweetened drinks, diet sodas for example, were connected to an elevated risk of stroke and dementia in the study.

No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks.

There is very little data on the health effects of diet drinks. This is problematic given the numbers of consumers who choose them as a healthier alternative to the sugar in the regular versions.

The data for this new study came from 2,888 adults over 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The data came from the Framingham Heart Study from Boston University.

In the 45+ age group, the research team focused on stroke and in the over 60 group, they searched for dementia.

Dementia is rare in people younger than 60. Similarly, stroke is rare under 45.

The researchers monitored how many sugary beverages and artificially sweetened soft drinks subjects in the two groups drank, at different points in time, between 1991 and 2001. They compared that data against how many people suffered stroke or dementia in the next decade.

Those who drank one soft drink with artificial sweeteners a day were nearly 3 times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, than those who never drank them.

Those who drank one a day were nearly 3 times as likely to develop dementia.

Those who drank 1 to 6 artificially sweetened beverages a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke. Their chances of developing dementia were unchanged.

The team was surprised sugary beverages did not affect the risks of stroke or dementia since these beverages are known to be unhealthy.


Unhealthy sugary drinks

Many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics.

Separate previous studies have shown an association between the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and adverse health effects, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and possibly even heart failure.

This article provides further evidence about artificially sweetened beverages and their possible effects on vascular health, including stroke and dementia.

Artificially sweetened beverages affect the brain through vascular mechanisms.

The evidence of this surfaced when data filtered for hypertension and diabetes and obesity showed the effects diminish, which implies that some of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages could still be going through a vascular pathway. Many strokes are caused by hardening of arteries; and the risk of dementia is also increased by the hardening of large and small blood vessels.


Your overall diet and lifestyle results in cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. Studies show heart disease and diabetes are associated with an elevated risk of dementia.

Sugary and artificially sweetened beverages are not healthy and this study indicates they aren’t great for your brain, in particular.

Alternatives such as regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates heart rate and increases blood flow and doing puzzles and games activate and challenge the mind. Your diet and supplements also reduce your risk of cognitive decline.


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