Artificially Sweetened Beverages, Stroke and Dementia Risk

An observational study in the Journal “ Stroke, A Journal of Cerebral Circulation” examined the question of whether there is an a relationship between consuming “ diet” beverages with artificial sweeteners and the development of a stroke or dementia using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. They looked at 2888 individuals older than 45 years of age for the development of strokes and 1484 participants over age 60 for the development of dementia. They followed the group for ten years and were able to gauge their intake of artificially sweetened beverages from food questionnaires filled out at exams. After making adjustments for age, sex, education, caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking they found that higher consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with a higher risk of strokes and dementia. This was not seen in individuals drinking sugar sweetened beverages.

In a comment section, the author acknowledged that diabetic patients had a higher risk of stroke and dementia than the general public and they consumed more artificially sweetened beverages than others. While the study did not show cause and effect it does leave us wondering just how safe these diet drinks are?

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2 Responses

  1. Contrary to the misinformation here, diet soda is not driving complex health conditions, such as stroke and dementia. The study cited here does not establish causation, nor does it overturn the vast body of science that establishes the safety of these products and their ingredients.

    Even the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not – and cannot – prove cause and effect with respect to diet soda and increased risk of stroke and dementia. And according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics. NIH does not mention zero calorie sweeteners as a risk factor.

    Bottom line: science and regulatory authorities around the globe verify the safety of diet beverages. These products come in a wide array of calorie counts and sizes and can be incorporated into a balanced lifestyle.

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