News

Diet soft drinks linked to dementia

Just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, a study suggests
Just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, a study suggests

IF YOU'RE partial to a can of Pepsi Max at lunch, or enjoy a splash of Coke Zero with your favourite rum - you might want to put that drink back on ice.

According to a new study, just one diet drink a day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, with researchers also finding the beverages have a "worrying association" with dementia.

The team of researchers from Boston's University School of Medicine, said people who consume a can of artificially-sweetened soft drink a day were at three times the risk of suffering the most common form of stroke compared to non-drinkers.

The US study also indicated that diet soft drink fans were 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's. But after accounting for all lifestyle factors, the researchers found the link to dementia was statistically insignificant, however, the impact on stroke risk remained.

The study, which looked at ten years' worth of data from more than 4,300 people, indicates that people need to look beyond the word 'diet' when making drink choices.

"Drinking at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia compared to those who drank artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week," the research read, which was published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.

"After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), calorific intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease dementia."

"To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer's disease," the co-authors added.

THE PROBLEM WITH THE 'NO CALORIES' TRADEOFF:

Diet drinks contain next-to-no calories, because they use artificial sweeteners that are hundreds, sometimes thousands of times sweeter than sugar.

There is public concern about some sweeteners, with scientists across the world arguing that low-calorie substitutes may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"A lot of people assume they must be healthy choices because they are not sugared beverages, but the critical thing for people to understand is we don't have the evidence," Prof Susan Swithers, from the US's Purdue University told the BBC.

Typically, the different types of sweeteners used in diet drinks range from Aspartame, Saccharine and Stevia.

Aspartame is the sweetener most used in diet drinks, and is also the most controversial.

At 200 times sweeter than sugar, it is used right across the world as a sugar substitute, including cereal, chewing gum and lollies.

"Diet drinks, despite having zero sugar and hardly any calories, actually taste far sweeter than regular soft-drinks," nutritionist Kristen Beck told news.com.au.

"The problem is that the human brain aren't set up to be able to deal with the

intensely-sweet, zero-calorie version of sweetness that artificial sweeteners provide."

Humans are set up to crave and seek out sweet foods, and when they eat something sweet,

the brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more.

"Artificial sweeteners provide an intensely sweet taste without any calories which can actually cause you to crave more sweet foods and drinks," Ms Beck said.

"In turn, the sweetness drive you to eat more kilojoules from sweet foods and drinks than you normally would.

"While sugar signals a positive feeling of reward, artificial sweeteners may not be an

effective way to manage a craving for sweets.

"Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain," Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox said.

According to Prof. Swithers, ingesting sweeteners also obstructs the way the body deals with real sugar when it's consumed again.

"We think the diet sodas may be bad because they make it hard to deal with the sugar you are consuming," she said.

"When the animals get real sugar they're not as good at processing it, their hormonal responses get blunted, their blood sugar levels go up and it leads to weight gain."

News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

MP supports marriage plebiscite

MARRIAGE DEBATE: Member for Maranoa David Littleproud with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Littleproud says vote's vital.

WATCH: Meet Southern Downs LNP candidate James Lister

William, Belinda, James and Jeremy Lister have relocated to the electorate for James to run as LNP candidate for the Southern Downs at the next state election.

James Lister is the LNP's Southern Downs candidate

Festival to honour man in black

LEGENDARY J.R: Johnny Cash walked the line of Maryland St in August of 1982 when he and his wife, June, visited the Granite Belt.

Cash fans Walk the Line to Stanthorpe

Local Partners

Market to raise money for Railway Station building fund

Go shopping for a good cause at ArtWorks Granite Belt Market

Have a laugh, save a life

LAUGHS ALL ROUND: Comedian Lindsay Webb will be performing as the headliner for the Wander Beyond Blue Yonder show coming to Warwick on Thursday, August 17.

Comedy show proves laughter is the best medicine

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

Crash course in politics

LEARN MORE: James and Belinda Lister will host a Politics 101 session at the Criterion Hotel next week for anyone wanting to know more about politics and voting.

Politics 101 to give young voters a run down on government

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

TAYLOR Swift has completely disappeared off social media — and her fans don’t know what to think.

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Valene Kane, Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer star in the TV series The Other Guy.

First foray into acting a long time in the making

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

She’s definitely not shy to pose in a bikini.

Life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley.

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!