(Newswire.net — April 22, 2017) — As sugar is bad for our body, we reach for diet supplements that use artificial sweeteners. The new research, however, finds that diet sodas cannot be a healthy substitute for sugary drinks.
The study, published on April 20 in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, indicates that diet sodas can cause negative health effects. According to scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, diet soda drinkers are at a higher risk of developing both, stroke and dementia.
The research, which studied more than 4000 adults who consume at least one artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) a day, showed that they have three times the risk of having a stroke or developing dementia than those drinking sugar sweetened beverages (SSB).
Researchers used data from the Framingham Heart study during the 1990s, which contained detailed information on the participants’ food and beverage intake. Years later, scientists compared medical data of the participants to find that those who drank one of more diet sodas a day were 2.9 times more likely to develop dementia than those who consumed regular sodas.
The same study indicated that the participants who consumed at least one diet soda daily were three times more at risk from a stroke compared to those who drank artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week.
Lead author Matthew Pase shared the study results. “We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not consume diet soda,” he told NBC News.
Although the researchers didn’t establish a connection between regular soda and stroke or dementia, Pase insisted that sugary drinks could not be a healthy alternative.
“We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages,” Pase recommended.
The study further suggested that ASB can also contribute to an increased risk of diabetes.
The research triggered a quick response from the American Beverage Association (ABA), which issued a news release, stressing that the study didn’t directly associate aspartame and saccharin, the key diet soda ingredients, with the diseases mentioned in the study. The ABA argued that hypertension and genetics may also increase the risk of developing stroke and dementia.
“Many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia, including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics,” the ASB noted, citing the National Institutes of Health (NIH).