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Drinking One Diet Drink Daily Can Triple Risk Of Dementia and Stroke

It’s true. According to a new study, drinking just one diet soda per day can triple your risk of dementia and stroke. 

The study, published in the science journal Stroke, looked at the consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar and artificial sweeteners. The interesting thing is that the increased risk was not seen with just sugary drinks.  In fact, according to researchers there wasn’t even a hint of evidence that sugary drinks caused strokes or dementia. 

Drinking One Diet Drink A Day Can Triple Risk Of Dementia And Strokes

However, Boston University researchers found aspartame, a low-calorie sweetener, severely damages the arteries – as opposed to sugar-sweetened drinks. What this means is that drinking diet soda is far worse for your health than drinking regular soda sweetened with sugar.

The results of the study showed that adults who had one or more diet drinks a day were 2.9 times more likely to develop dementia and increased their risk by 3 times of having a stroke, when compared to those who didn’t drink any.  

The research team from Boston University believes that the artificial sweeteners including aspartame and saccharine may have a negative effect on blood vessels, which can eventually trigger strokes and dementia.

Data was collected on 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. This data came from the Framingham Heart Study, a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University.

Over seven years, the research team used food frequency questionnaires up to three different points in time. They then followed up for the next 10 years to determine who developed stroke and dementia.

At the end of the follow-up period, researchers counted 97 strokes, or 3 percent of the participants in the stroke analysis arm of the study. Of those, 82 were ischemic. The study also found 81 cases of dementia, or 5 percent of the participants in the dementia arm of the study. Of those, 63 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

A senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University Mathew Pase and the author of the new study said, “Our study shows a need to put more research into this area given how often people drink artificially sweetened beverages.”

“Although we did not find an association between stroke or dementia and the consumption of sugary drinks, this certainly does not mean they are a healthy option. We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages.”

Just One A Day

There you have it, drinking one diet drink per day can triple your risk of stroke or dementia. Just one a day! But don’t think that means you can still reach for the sugary sodas. 

It’s common knowledge that drinking sugary drinks is bad too. They’re believed to contribute not just to rising levels of obesity, but also other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, dental cavities and cancer. Instead, just drink more water. Your brain will thank you. 

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References:

1. Wersching, Heike, Hannah Gardener, and Ralph L. Sacco. "Sugar-Sweetened And Artificially Sweetened Beverages In Relation To Stroke And Dementia." Stroke 48.5 (2017): 1129-1131.

2. Corliss, Julie. "Does Drinking Diet Soda Raise The Risk Of A Stroke? - Harvard Health Blog." Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 2017.

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