Diet Soft Drink Intake Tied to Stroke, Dementia Risk — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 21, 2017

Diet Soft Drink Intake Tied to Stroke, Dementia Risk

By Kelly Young

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Artificially sweetened soft drinks, like diet soda, are associated with increased risk for stroke and dementia, according to an observational study in Stroke.

Using the Framingham Offspring Cohort, researchers examined associations between soft drink consumption, as reported on food-frequency questionnaires, and vascular outcomes. Over 10 years' follow-up, recent and cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with increased risks for ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer dementia. However, the dementia risks were no longer significant after adjustment for prevalent diabetes and hypertension. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks did not pose increased risk.

Editorialists note that people may switch to diet soft drinks after they are flagged as being high risk. They conclude: "The growing number of epidemiological studies showing strong associations between frequent consumption of [artificially sweetened beverages] and vascular outcomes, however, suggests that it may not be reasonable to substitute or promote [artificially sweetened drinks] as healthier alternatives."

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