Recent research from the Boston University School of Medicine suggests that drinking diet soda every day can triple one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease or having a stroke.
According to a new study published in the medical journal Stroke, diet soda consumers have a higher likelihood of developing the two conditions, if they drink diet soda daily, than their peers who consume it weekly or less frequent.
Researchers found that diet soda somehow boosts the risk of ischemic stroke, which is a condition that occurs when blood vessels in the brain became clogged. Lead author Matthew Pase underlined that his team found only an association, not a cause-and-effect link.
Pase believes that diet soda is not the healthy alternative to regular sugary drinks that the industry has touted for so many years.
The recent research has some limitations, though. For instance, most volunteers were white. Plus, participants did not drink regular sodas as often as diet sodas, so the team couldn’t tell if the risks are tied to sugary sodas too.
In addition, an observational study cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between a certain drink and the risk of developing a specific disease. Study authors, however, said the association they unveiled represents an intriguing trend which should be further studied.
Pase cautioned people should limit their intake of diet soda, and by no means should they revert to sugary drinks. The latter have been linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, smaller brain volume, and poor long-term memory.
The study tracked 2,888 participants aged 45 or older to see whether there is a relationship between diet soda and stroke and 1,484 volunteers aged 60 and over for the Alzheimer’s disease risk. Participants were monitored over a decade. Scientists had access to the cohort’s blood tests over a 40-year period.
Researchers found that participants who consumed one or more diet sodas per day had a 2.96 higher risk of having a stroke and a 2.89 risk of developing dementia.