Daily consumption of diet soda, fruit juices linked to increased dementia and stroke risk


Researchers have established a link between daily consumption of diet soda, artificially sweetened drinks and fruit juices to increased risk of dementia and stroke.

The study by scientists at Boston University School of Medicine found that people who frequently consume sugary beverages and fruit juices are at an increased risk of having poorer memory, smaller overall brain volumes and smaller hippocampal volumes – an area of the brain important for memory.

Number of studies have shown that access sugar has adverse effect on health of humans. For this reason beverage companies have come up with diet soda alternative of sugary drinks, but it turns out that artificially-sweetened beverage consumption has been linked to cardiometabolic risk factors, which increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease and dementia.

Data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) involves analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing data from 4,000 participants over the age of 30. Scientists measured the relationship between beverage intake and brain volumes as well as thinking and memory. The researchers then monitored 2,888 participants age 45 and over for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia for 10 years.

The researchers point out that pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure did not completely explain their findings. For example, people who more frequently consumed diet soda were also more likely to be diabetic, which is thought to increase the risk of dementia. However, even after excluding diabetics from the study, diet soda consumption was still associated with the risk of dementia.