Could drinking a daily diet soda be bad for your brain? A new study of people participating in the Framingham Heart Study found an association between downing one artificially sweetened beverage daily and the risks of stroke and dementia.
What Did the Study Find?
The analysis included 2,888 adults over 45 and 1,484 people over 60 included in the analysis, which ran from 1991 to 2011. The investigators examined the risk of stroke among those over 45. For those over 60, they considered the risk of dementia. All the volunteers answered questions about carbonated beverage consumption at several points during the study.
How Does a Daily Diet Soda Affect Risk?
Compared to those who did not consume diet drinks, those drinking six artificially sweetened sodas a week were nearly three times more likely to suffer a stroke. Among the older age group, daily diet soda consumption was also linked to triple the risk of dementia.
This is an association; it does not demonstrate cause and effect. And the baseline risk for stroke and dementia was not high, so even tripling the risk did not lead to many adverse outcomes.
Nonetheless, it might be worth paying attention to this research. Drinking water instead of soft drinks has no harmful effects. Not surprisingly, however, the American Beverage Association has objected vigorously to these conclusions.