Consuming one can a day of low or no sugar soft drink is linked with a much higher risk of developing dementia or having a stroke, researchers said.
The researchers from the Boston University study, published in medical journal Stroke, warns that the findings only shown an association and there is a need for further investigation.
“The study shows a need to put more research into this area, given how often people drink artificially sweetened drinks, as per the lead author Matthew Pase, from the Department of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data on almost 1500 people older than 60 for the dementia study and 2,900 people older than 45 for the stroke study. The study participants recorded their drinking and eating habits in questionnaires and were followed up after 10 years.
At the end of the follow-up period, the researchers found 81 cases of dementia, 63 of which were diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease and 97 cases of stroke. The participants who drank at least 1 artificially sweetened beverage a day, were 2.9 times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and 3 times as likely to develop an ischaemic stroke.
But, even if an individual was 3 times as likely to develop dementia or stroke, it was by no means a certain fate.
“In the study, 3% of the people had a new stroke and 5% developed dementia. Therefore, it is still about a small number of individuals developing either dementia or stroke.
The study did not find the same association between sugary drinks and dementia or stroke.
“Although an association was not found between dementia or stroke and the consumption of sugary drinks, this does not mean they are a healthy option. It is recommended that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages”.
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