According to a new study consuming diet sodas may result to higher risk of stroke and dementia. Drinks with artificial sweeteners like diet sodas are linked to higher risk of stroke and dementia according to the study, which published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke on Thursday.
However, the researchers failed to determine an actual cause-and-effect relationship between consuming artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk for stroke and dementia. Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully.
No connection was found between those health risks and other sugary beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks.
"We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population," said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.
"More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health," he said.
The new study involved data on 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts. The data came from the Framingham Heart Study, a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University.
The American Beverage Association was quick to defend diet drinks.
“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,” it said in a statement. It added:
While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect.
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