Study: People who drink soda daily have higher risk of developing stroke, dementia

Credit: Boston University School of Medicine

BOSTON (NEWS10) – A study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine found that daily consumption of sodas, fruit juices and artificially sweetened sodas affect the brain.

Researchers say consumption of these drinks are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volumes and smaller hippocampal volumes – an area of the brain important for memory.

“Excess sugar is known to have adverse effects on health and diet sodas are often touted as a healthier alternative to regular soda,” Matthew Pase, PhD, a fellow in the department of neurology at BUSM and investigator at the FHS, said.

Those who consume regular soda are also at risk.

Researchers say drinks containing regular sugar have also been linked to an increase in cerebrovascular disease and dementia.

The Beverage Association says beverages with low and no calorie sweeteners are safe.

“Low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact.”

They also say beverages containing these sweeteners can be a useful tool as part of an overall weight management plan.

Researchers for the study also note some limitations to their findings. They say people should be cautious about regularly consuming sugary beverages but further studies are needed to determine whether the findings represent cause and effect.

A total of 4,000 people over the age of 30 who participated in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) were used for the study. Cognitive testing was conducted to measure the relationship between beverage intake and brain volumes, thinking and memory. Researchers then monitored 2,888 participants over the age of 45 to see if anyone developed a stroke and 1,484 participants 60 and older to see if anyone developed dementia.

The study was published in the journals Alzheimer’s & Dementia and the journal Stroke.

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