Artificially sweetened beverages linked to increased risk for stroke, dementia
A recent study reveals that people who drink diet sodas daily have three times the risk of stroke and dementia in the next 10 years. This finding has many health experts urging everyone to stop drinking diet beverages. Wait, what?
Here’s the kicker
“The study, published in the journal Stroke, does not prove that diet drinks damage the brain,” said Gauhar Chaudhary, M.D., neurologist with Norton Neuroscience Institute. “However, it does support other studies that show people who drink diet sodas frequently tend to have poorer health as a result of poorer lifestyle choices.”
Dr. Chaudhary explained that drinking soda is part of a greater pattern. Many have switched to diet sodas because they had a health scare. That scare may have started with drinking sugary sodas, which may have led them to obesity and diabetes, both of which can increase the risk of stroke and dementia.
“Unfortunately, artificially sweetened drinks offer no health benefit, and while many people drink them to help avoid more dangerous sugary sodas, studies show that diet sodas don’t help you lose weight,” Dr. Chaudhary said. “In fact, those who drink diet sodas often gain weight or struggle to lose weight.”
What can you do to reduce your risk for stroke? Dr. Chaudhary recommends focusing on:
- Quitting smoking.
- Seeing a primary care provider regularly. Your doctor or provider will help you manage your blood pressure, blood sugar (glucose) and cholesterol levels, all of which are important factors for avoiding stroke.
- Knowing your family history. Even though heredity isn’t the only risk factor, it does play a major role in heart and vascular diseases.