You may want to ease up on that diet soda you’re so fond of – given new research showing the habit potentially increases your chances of getting a stroke or dementia.
A link between the two is a takeaway from a new study published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.
Those who drank diet soda every day had a nearly three-times-as-likely chance of stroke or dementia development, study author Matthew Pase said in a statement. That said, the study didn’t reveal a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
For the study, researchers tapped data from the Framingham Heart Study to examine 2,888 people all more than 45 years old, and 1,484 people more than 60 years old, all from Framingham, Massachusetts. They took into account the number of both sugar-laden drinks and artificially-sweetened soft drinks people drank during the 10 year period of 1991 to 2001, and studied them several times between those years, reports CNN. Researchers documented stroke (for those over 45) and dementia (for those over 60) occurrence over the following 10 years.
Drinking these artificially-sweetened soft drinks each day led to an approximately three times higher risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, respectively.
The same couldn’t be said for sugary drinks like fruit juice and sodas sweetened with sugar. Research on such consumption published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia found people who more frequently consume sugary beverages over time were more likely to have poorer memories and smaller brain volumes.
“I was surprised that sugary beverage intake was not associated with either the risks of stroke or dementia because sugary beverages are known to be unhealthy,” Pase, of the Boston University School of Medicine, told CNN.