Drinking At Least One Diet Soda A Day Can Triple Your Stroke Risk Research Shows
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine looked at the long-term health impact of drinking artificially sweetened beverages, publishing their results in 2017 in the journal Stroke. The researchers analyzed nearly 3,000 participants over the age of 45 for strokes over the course of 10 years, gauging their beverage intake through a food-frequency questionnaire. According to their findings, the participants who drank at least one diet soda a day were nearly twice as likely to have a strokethan those who didnt drink diet soda, but they were three times as likely to develop an ischemic stroke, in particular.
Our study provides further evidence to link consumption of artificially sweetened beverages with the risk of stroke, particularly ischemic stroke, the researchers said.
Diet Sodas May Raise Risk Of Dementia And Stroke Study Finds
People who drink diet sodas daily have three times the risk of stroke and dementia compared to people who rarely drink them, researchers reported Thursday.
Its yet another piece of evidence that diet drinks are not a healthy alternative to sugary drinks, and suggests that people need to limit both, doctors said.
Why Your Diet Soda May Derail Your Diet
One possible explanation for the link between diet sodas and weight gain and diabetes risk: The sweeteners in diet soft drinks may trick you into overcompensating, or eating a greater number calories than you normally would, says Christopher Gardner, PhD, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. This can happen in one of two ways.
The first, he says, is psychological. If you choose a no-calorie diet soda over a regular soda, you may reward yourself later in the day with a treat. And that treat may have more calories than you saved by avoiding the sugary soft drink.
Your brain chemistry may play a role as well. The sweetness in the diet soda may prime your brain to expect a calorie boost. When no calories are on the way, that could trigger your appetite and lead you to eat more.
âDiet sodas may help you with weight loss if you donât overcompensate, but thatâs a big if,â says Gardner, who’s also a professor of medicine at Stanford University.
Ludwig suggests that drinking artificially sweetened beverages may affect your taste buds in ways that make you less likely to choose healthy foods.
âYou may find fruit less appealing because itâs less sweet than your soda, and vegetables may become inedible,â he speculates.
Both Gardner and Ludwig acknowledge that their theories are just that: Theories.
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Diet Sodas Raise Risk Of Dementia And Stroke Study Finds
While the findings do not prove that diet drinks damage brains, they support other studies that show people who drink them frequently tend to have poorer health.
The researchers, led by Matthew Pase of the Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues, studied more than 4,000 people for their report, published in the journal Stroke.
We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not consume diet soda, Pase told NBC News.
Both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks may be hard on the brain.
Our study provides further evidence to link consumption of artificially sweetened beverages with the risk of stroke, the team wrote.
To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and an increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimers disease.
The team did not ask people which artificial sweetener they used. Some of those in the diet drinks were likely saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, or sucralose, the researchers said.
And other experts pointed out that sugary drinks are a major cause of obesity, diabetes, stroke and other ills.
Are The Results As Strong As They Appear Probably Not
All observational studies have this limitation, but its worth repeating: you simply cannot adjust for all possible covariates that might impact the outcomes and also be related to the exposure . For example, people who drink diet soda may also be, on average, more likely to do yo-yo diets, have higher stress levels, or have any of other countless behaviors that might theoretically be tied to greater risk for disease.
Another problem with the study can be seen in the highlighted numbers below: the group that consumed the most calories had a lower BMI than groups that consumed fewer calories. Very strange. This may be due to random variation, but its also possible that the Food Frequency Questionnaires used by the researchers just werent very accurate. And indeed, FFQs are not very reliable at determining what an individual has eaten over a long period of time, especially in older individuals.
Moreover, in the table below, check out all the effect sizes. Theyre not all particularly large and its possible that they may deviate depending on what was adjusted for in a particular model. Some researchers have proposed that instead of adjusting only for a few covariates, that all possible combinations of covariates be adjusted for and the median of that be presented instead. Given that the study didnt do this and was not preregistered, much of these results can be taken as exploratory analyses rather than confirmatory analyses.
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The Recent Study In The Journal Stroke Has Some Major Caveats
By Seema Yasmin
4:43 PM on Apr 26, 2017 CDT
My family members are panicking about recent headlines claiming that diet sodas cause Alzheimer’s disease. While I would love for them to drink fewer sodas, I have to be honest: The headlines were misleading, and the new study they refer to has major caveats.
The study did not prove that artificial sweeteners cause stroke, Alzheimers disease or any type of dementia. In fact, this kind of study design cannot prove causation. To be fair, the authors were careful to say that the study was not able to prove cause and effect and only shows a trend among one group of people.
Many news articles didn’t reflect this.
The researchers studied nearly 2,000 men and women ages 45 and older for stroke and about 1,500 people over age 60 for dementia. They tracked how much and what kinds of soda the subjects were drinking and monitored their health for a decade.
The study determined that drinking sugary beverages was not associated with stroke or dementia. But it found that for people who drank one artificially sweetened soda a day, the risk of stroke or dementia was nearly three times higher than it was for people who consumed less than one diet soda a week.
The study published in the journal Stroke on April 20 included mostly white Americans, making it tricky to apply the results to people of color who have different genetic and social risk factors for stroke and dementia.
Foods That Cause Dementia
Diet soda and other sugary beverages arent the only cause of dementia. There are other foods that cause dementia.
Beer: Beer contains nitrites, which can cause Alzheimers disease.
Microwave popcorn: It contains diacetyl. It is a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain.
White foods: Foods like white sugar, white rice, white bread, pasta, and cake cause a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
Processed meats: Processed meat like bacon, smoked turkey, and ham contain nitrosamines. They cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
Processed cheese: Consuming processed cheese like mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz, and American cheese can cause Alzheimers disease.
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Is Drinking Diet Soda A Health Risk
May 5, 2017 — About one in five Americans drinks diet soda every day, according to the CDC. Is that a good thing?
Numerous studies over the past several years have reported links between diet soda and weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and other health issues. Most recently, headlines sounded alarms about a higher chance of dementia and stroke among diet soda drinkers .
That may sound worrisome, but experts say you donât need to clear the diet drinks out of your fridge just yet. Many questions must be answered before weâll know whether diet soda raises your chance of health problems.
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Dementia
This is the first study to find a link between artificial sweeteners and dementia, mostly because this seems to be the first time researchers have looked for a connection between the two. I predict that this provocative finding will now prompt more researchers to ask the same question, which will shed a lot more light on the situation.
As it stands, the evidence that drinking diet soda may contribute to dementia risk is circumstantial, at best. This study simply observed that people who drink diet soda regularly are a lot more likely to eventually be diagnosed with Alzheimers disease or dementia.
However, further analysis found that those who drink diet soda are also more likely to be obese or have diabetes or heart disease. All of these conditions significantly increase your risk of developing Alzheimers disease. And if you are overweight or have diabetes, you might be more likely to drink diet soda because youre trying to reduce your sugar or calorie intake.
So the real question here is: Does drinking diet soda increase your risk of dementia any more than having diabetes or being overweight already does?
And sure enough, when the researchers adjusted the analysis to account for these other risk factors, the link between diet soda consumption and dementia essentially disappeared.
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Health Benefits Of Diet Soda
Drinking diet soda does not provide any direct health benefits. However, it may offer some people a way to reduce their consumption of sugary beverages.
People who wean themselves off sweetened sodas by drinking diet sodas can significantly reduce their sugar intake. They can then begin to transition to more healthful drinks, such as sparkling water.
Some analysts, especially those with ties to the soda industry, insist that there is no compelling evidence directly linking soda to poor health. Others insist that diet soda remains a healthful alternative to traditional soda, despite the evidence to the contrary.
The authors of a 2016 analysis noted that 26 studies found no link between soda consumption and worse health outcomes. However, those studies had received funding from companies in the soda industry.
This fact, the authors of the study argue, suggests that the soda industry is manipulating contemporary scientific processes to create controversy and advance their business interests at the expense of the publics health.
To cut down on diet soda, a person needs to understand why they drink soda and then find a viable alternative.
For some people, soda offers a quick caffeine jolt. Switching to coffee or tea may be a good alternative as both of these drinks provide several health benefits. The best choice is unsweetened coffee or tea. Milk can offer some sweetness without the extra sugar.
Drinking Soda Tied To Poor Brain Health And Alzheimers Risk
Two new studies link soda consumption to early signs of Alzheimers disease and poor brain health. Although the studies do not prove cause and effect, they suggest that drinking sodas whether they are sugar sweetened or diet may be linked to accelerated brain aging and an increased risk of Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.
One study, in the journal Alzheimers and Dementia, looked at more than 4,000 middle-aged adults. They were given brain scans and memory tests and filled out detailed questionnaires about what they ate and drank.
The researchers, from Boston University and other research centers, found that the more sugary sodas someone regularly drank, the worse they tended to do on memory tests.Those who drank the most sugary drinks also tended to have more shrinkage of the brain. In other studies, reduced brain volume has been tied to an increased risk of developing Alzheimers disease years later.
Those who drank one or two sugary sodas a day had shrinkage of the brain that corresponded to one to two years of aging compared with those who didnt drink sugary sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages. They also tended to do worse on memory tests, scoring about the same as someone five or six years older. A typical can of sugar-sweetened soda or similarly sweetened beverage contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, or about 150 calories.
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What Did The Researchers Find
This study looked at the relationship between both sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages and the incidence of strokes and dementia. It tracked ~4,000 people from Massachusetts from 1991 until 2014 to see how many sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially-sweetened drinks each person drank, along with how many individuals were diagnosed with strokes or dementia.
Because factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, and excess caloric intake could increase the risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, the researchers adjusted for these covariates.
The headline-grabbing result was pretty stark: people with a cumulative intake of more than one artificially-sweetened beverage per day were 2.96 times more likely to be at risk for an ischemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to be at risk for developing dementia, compared to people who did not drink any sweetened beverages. Those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages didnt see an increased risk.
After following ~4,000 people over fourteen years, researchers found that people who consumed more than one artificially-sweetened beverage per day were around three times more likely to experience an ischemic stroke or dementia, while sugar-sweetened beverage drinkers didnt have an increased risk.
Both Sugary And Diet Drinks Correlated With Accelerated Brain Aging
Americans love sugar. Together we consumed nearly 11 million metric tons of it in 2016, according to the US Department of Agriculture, much of it in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages like sports drinks and soda.
Now, new research suggests that excess sugarespecially the fructose in sugary drinksmight damage your brain. Researchers using data from the Framingham Heart Study found that people who drink sugary beverages frequently are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampusan area of the brain important for learning and memory.
But before you chuck your sweet tea and reach for a diet soda, theres more: a follow-up study found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.
Researchers are quick to point out that these findings, which appear separately in the journals Alzheimers & Dementia and Stroke, demonstrate correlation but not cause-and-effect. While researchers caution against over-consuming either diet soda or sugary drinks, more research is needed to determine howor ifthese drinks actually damage the brain, and how much damage may be caused by underlying vascular disease or diabetes.
Maybe good old-fashioned water is something we need to get used to, she adds.
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Research On Foods That Cause Dementia
According to a study published in the journals Alzheimers & Dementia and Stroke, people who drink sugary beverages often may have poorer memory. They may also have smaller brain volume and a smaller hippocampus. Hippocampus is an area of the brain that is important for learning and memory.
A follow-up study about diet soda and dementia concluded that people who drink diet soda daily were three times more likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.
Dr. Matthew Pase from the Neurology Department at the Boston University School of Medicine says that excess sugar from these drinks may cause cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and a faculty member at Boston Universitys Alzheimers Disease Center, Sudha Seshadri, says that there is no upside to drinking sugary beverages. Even substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners wont help.
In a study published in Alzheimers & Dementia, researchers examined data from magnetic resonance imaging scans and cognitive test results on people who consumed more than two sugary beverages such as soft drinks, soda, and fruit juice or three servings of soda per week. The researchers found signs of accelerated brain aging. All these are risk factors for early-stage Alzheimers disease.
How Bad Is Diet Soda For Your Body
The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and theres no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer. Some types of diet soda are even fortified with vitamins and minerals. But diet soda isnt a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss.
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Soda Linked To Alzheimers Dementia And Cancer
Yesterday I told you that drinking soda can cause weight gain and contribute to Type II diabetes. But research also shows drinking soda causes many other far-reaching health problems. Including major and profound brain changes.
In fact, scientists at Macquarie University in Australia recently found that consuming sugary drinks cause changes in the brain similar to those seen in Alzheimers dementia. In this lab study, scientists fed rats sugary water similar to sugar concentrations found in soda. Just 26 days later, they found profound changes in areas of the brain associated with memory. In addition, they found alterations in 290 different brain proteins. As well as long-lasting behavioral changes, including hyperactivity.
Research also shows soda can cause osteoporosis. You see, phosphoric acidwhich gives soda its tangy tasteleaches calcium from bones. In fact, researchers from Tufts University in Boston found that women who drink soda had lower bone density, which put them at greater risk for hip fractures at older ages. Even among teen girls, who are the most poorly nourished segment of the population, the researchers found a strong link between soda and bone fractures.
Numerous studies also link soda to cancer. These studies shouldnt surprise anyone who knows their chemistry. You see, when sodium benzoate mixes with vitamin C it creates benzene, a chemical solvent recognized as a human carcinogen.
Soda also appears to affect your heart health