Study Alleges Diet Soda Linked to Increased Stroke and Dementia Risk
A study examining the health effects of sugary and artificially sweetened beverages has allegedly concluded that consumption of the latter was associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia. Matthew P. Pase et al., “Sugar and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia,” Stroke, May 2017. Based on data from more than 4,000 adults enrolled in Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort, the study followed health outcomes for 10 years and purportedly accounted for confounding factors such as “age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking.”
The results apparently suggested that, when compared to those who abstained from artificially sweetened beverages, participants who imbibed up to six servings per day were at greater risk of stroke or dementia, with the strongest associations for ischemic stroke.
“To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and an increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of AD,” state the authors, who nevertheless note that other studies have raised questions about whether individuals with a higher risk for dementia tend to consume more diet beverages. “Because our study was observational, we are unable to determine whether artificially sweetened soft drink intake increased the risk of incident dementia through diabetes mellitus or whether people with diabetes mellitus were simply more likely to consume diet beverages.… Clinical trials are needed to establish whether the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages is causally related to dementia or surrogate end points, such as cognitive decline or brain atrophy.”