Diet Soda Linked to Stroke, Dementia
According to a recent observational study involving more than 4,000 participants, a higher consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks may lead to an increased risk of stroke and dementia. The study was based on an analysis of the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort and was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
Study participants who drank at least one diet soda per day were almost three times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke and 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over a 10-year period than those who did not consume artificially-sweetened soft drinks. Although this association is certainly interesting, the study authors concede their research does not prove sugar substitutes cause stroke or dementia.
This study had several limitations. For example, it did not distinguish between different types of artificial sweeteners. Also, some of the association between sugar substitutes and stroke and dementia risk decreased when adjustments for other cardiovascular risk factors—such as body mass index (BMI), physical activity level, and smoking status–were made.
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