"To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer's disease", the study, published in the journal Stroke on Thursday, stated.
While it's unclear what mechanism might be causing this, the message, one researcher notes, is "absolutely" not to go back to sugary drinks.
Both relied on data from the Framingham Heart Study, which began in MA in 1948 to identify the risk factors for heart disease and has been extended several times since. They found that any claim made about sodium, preventing disease or lowering blood pressure made the product more appealing.
Daily consumption of "diet" drinks containing synthetic sweeteners may be linked to an increased risk of stroke or suffering from dementia, according to a USA study.
It's well established that excessive consumption of sugary drinks heightens the risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, but little is known about the potential health effect of sugary drinks on cognition.
The diet sodas used by those in the study contained the artificial sweeteners saccharin, acesulfame-K and aspartame. People who drink one can or more diet soda per day are three times more likely to suffer from the conditions, the researchers found.
The authors caution that, while their studies were large and lengthy, they don't prove that soft drinks lead to memory or brain problems; they only found links between the drinks and brain effects. For example, people who more frequently consumed diet soda were also more likely to be diabetic, which is thought to increase the risk of dementia. There could be a common factor that is driving the association, rather than diet drinks themselves.
However, Pase admits that that overall risk isn't that big.
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Meanwhile, NHS England will ban hospital shops from stocking sugary drinks next year unless retailers voluntarily take action to cut their sales. Contrary to expectations, diet soda consumption did not let these people off the hook. These patients were also three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's. "In our study, 3 percent of the people had a new stroke and 5 percent developed dementia, so we're still talking about a small number of people developing stroke or dementia". In some cases, they may trigger people to eat more. Nobody ever said diet sodas were a health food.. His group has recommendations online at alz.org/10ways.
"Artificial sweeteners provide an intensely sweet taste without any calories which can actually cause you to crave more sweet foods and drinks", Ms Beck said.
In the battle to lose weight, many people switch to diet sodas.
The American Beverage Association concurred. However, intake of total sugary beverages and sugar-sweetened soft drinks were not associated with increased risks of stroke.
But Sacco said he'd stopped drinking diet drinks.
While the current findings suggest a link between regular intake of artificially sweetened drinks and stroke and dementia, the researchers stress their study is purely observational, so no conclusions can be drawn.
"Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain", Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox said.
So what can people drink?