an aluminum can of diet soda, non-sugar sweeteners, daily diet soda

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.

Pase et al, Stroke, April 24, 2017

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  1. Christine

    Not enough data to make recommendations. These studies alarm people unnecessarily.

  2. Phil
    Fayetteville, NC

    Which artificial sweetener was involved in the study? I use sucralose daily in coffee.

  3. Glenda

    Why are the names of this so called sweeteners published????

    Are the two biggies aspartame, and asueflame (near enough to correct spelling.

    Why is it this news is not saying these “sweeteners” are also in health food drinks, other ones also?

    It is almost everything–foods, prescriptions, sports drinks–the list goes on and on. Also why not an explanation as to what these sweeteners are coming from–a form of anti-freeze.

    Next, information and a warning about polypropylene glycol and polyethylene should be removed from everything it has been put in. Read about these.

  4. Jane
    Chapel hill, NC

    Is the “diet” factor, I.e., artificial sweetners or something else???? Does one need to eliminate artificial sweeteners to lower one’s risk of stroke and dementia. In all drinks and food?????

  5. Wally

    This study reminds me of the statement that people who never ride in vehicles are never involved in auto accidents. All of life is a matter of trade offs.

  6. Elle

    I do not consume alcohol, I do not smoke, I eat sensibly , exercise daily, and my one pleasure is a bottLe of diet coke daily; I also have one coffee a day no sugar.

    I am guilty of liking sweets but try in moderation; my husband also drinks diet soda daily; what to do; I already drink water daily so having any more isn’t going to happen; at this point, until there is more research I may continue to enjoy my guilty pleasure.

  7. Beth

    What about artificially sweetened tea? I’m thinking of switching to sugar!

  8. Yvette

    Is it only for drinking diet sodas, or is it use of sugar substitutes?

  9. Barbara
    spokane wa

    what else was gong on with the diet soda drinkers?? Smoking?? No exercise??Eating a Macburger with cheese?? What were the artificial sweeteners use in the drinks?? Media got on to this waaay too soon

  10. Dorothy

    I am in my late 70s and have begun to notice “memory” problems — I write everything down now. I have been drinking diet sodas for several years, trying to keep my weight down. I also use sugar substitutes (Splenda) and Stevia. The only name on the diet soda bottles is aspartame.

    I have to wonder if Splenda and Stevia have the same effects. The last diet Pepsi we bought is labeled “no aspartame”. Would you please try to find out more about the other sugar substitutes. I have a lot of these two things in my cupboard. It has almost no sugar. Thanks.

  11. Carol
    Raleigh, NC

    I do not drink diet sodas, but I do use Truvia to sweeten some drinks and some food. Until a year or so ago, I used Splenda. I’m wondering what the implications from this study are for the regular use of these artificial sweeteners. Thank you.

  12. TERRY

    This is interesting. Makes you wonder why artificial sweetener is even allowed in food products. Is it the next thing tube banned, like trans fat?

  13. Doug
    Erie, Pa

    Upon first reading this (and recalling ALL the diet soda I have drunk) I thought, “I am doomed to dementia.”
    However upon further thinking, my father has dementia (in the final stages, knows nobody, is in a lockdown facility) He never drank soda of any kind, diet or otherwise. He said he could not stand the carbonation; it gave him an upset stomach.

    Some of these “findings” I feel are from the “I lead a healthy life and you didn’t” sort of uber-healthy folks rubbing salt, until they get dementia.

  14. Mike

    There are 3 artificial sweeteners (plus stevia and monkfruit). Any indication whether all have the same effect, or is it just, eg, blue envelopes (which I seem to recall are higher risk in general). Also, how much is in a can of soda – how many envelopes? Does this mean that several envelopes/day of artificial sweeteners in tea/coffee have similar effects?

  15. Suzanne
    Byron, Georgia

    Okay, but what kind of diet soda. What were the sweeteners. I occassionally have a stevia sweetened soda. Otherwise it’s coffee, water, unsweetened ice tea and that’s about it.

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