Fizzy drinks epitomise ‘guilty pleasure’. It seems we are made aware of their health risks constantly, but sometimes an ice cold can is all we crave, right? Well, not for long. A new study has found that drinking one diet soda a day can triple the risk of developing dementia or a suffering deadly stroke.
The new research, published in the journal of American Heart Association, claims that those who drink one artificially sweetened ‘diet’ soda drink a day - Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Pepsi Max, for example – are 2.96 times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke caused by blood vessels becoming blocked, compared to those who drink them less than once a week. What's more, the regular drinkers and are ‘2.89 times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia’. The research, which was conducted by Boston’s University School of Medicine, has also found a ‘worrying association’ between diet fizzy drinks and Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, the research did not find a link between stroke or dementia with the consumption of non-diet, regular sugary drinks, such as full fat Coke. However, the study encourages people to still steer clear of drinking any sugary drinks. 'We know that limiting added sugars is an important strategy to support good nutrition and healthy body weights, and until we know more, people should use artificially sweetened drinks cautiously,'said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., past chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. 'They may have a role for people with diabetes and in weight loss, but we encourage people to drink water, low-fat milk or other beverages without added sweeteners.'
The study looked at data from more than 4,300 people over ten years, and while the link between fizzy drinks and dementia was less statistically significant, the risk of stroke remained high. Dr James Pickett, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said. ‘This research does not show that artificially sweetened drinks cause dementia. But it does highlight a worrying association that requires further investigation.’
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