The consumption of soft drinks has not only been linked to obesityan increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, has also been associated in various studies with a higher risk of having a stroke and more likely to develop dementia.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, remembering, and reasoning) to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. The National Institutes of Health explain that while dementia is more common as people get older, it is not a normal part of aging.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. The Alzheimer’s Society shares research presented in 2018 at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in which associates the intake of sugary drinks with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study published in 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that even in people without diabetes, higher than normal blood sugar is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.
Diet soda is also associated with up to 3 times the risk of dementia
Research published in 2017 in the American Heart Association journal Stroke found that compared to those who drank less than one per week, people who reported drinking at least one artificially sweetened drink a day, they were 2.96 times more likely to have an ischemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
The study results held up even after adjusting for factors such as age, gender, caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking status. The study examined the beverage intake of 2,888 people over the age of 45 for its stroke analysis and 1,484 people over the age of 60 for its dementia analyses.
Although the study findings only showed a correlation, and not causation, that is, they do not prove cause and effect, the results encourage reducing the consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened beverages.
Consumers shouldn’t “overinterpret” the study results, Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said at the time. For many people, such as people with diabetes or obesity, diet soda can be part of the gradual switch from sugary drinks.
“So the bottom line is: Drink more water and less diet soda,” Gardner said. “And don’t switch to real soda.”
Dr James Pickett, director of research for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “This research does not show that artificially sweetened beverages cause dementia.” But it does highlight a worrying association that requires further investigation.
What we do know is that the things we eat and drink can have an effect on our brain health, Pickett added.
It may interest you:
–10 foods included in the MIND diet for brain health
–Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for the brain
–A diet of tea or coffee daily can reduce your risk of dementia in old age