Diet soda may in­crease risk for stroke and de­men­tia

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

A new study, pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion’s jour­nal Stroke, links diet soft drinks to an in­creased risk for stroke and de­men­tia. Re­searchers stud­ied more than 4,000 peo­ple over 45 who had filled out food-fre­quency ques­tion­naires and had pe­ri­odic health ex­am­i­na­tions be­tween 1991 and 2001. The sci­en­tists tracked their health over the next 10 years and found 97 cases of stroke and 81 cases of de­men­tia.

The study sheds light only on an as­so­ci­a­tion, though, as the re­searchers were un­able to de­ter­mine an ac­tual cause-and-ef­fect re­la­tion­ship be­tween sip­ping ar­ti­fi­cially sweet­ened drinks and an in­creased risk for stroke and de­men­tia.

“More re­search is needed to study the health ef­fects of diet drinks so that con­sumers can make in­formed choices con­cern­ing their health,” 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.

The study found that com­pared with those who did not drink diet soda, peo­ple who drank one to six ar­ti­fi­cially sweet­ened drinks a week had twice the risk of stroke. There were sim­i­lar, although weaker, as­so­ci­a­tions for de­men­tia risk. The rea­sons for the link re­main un­known.

The study ad­justed for age, sex, ed­u­ca­tion, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, di­a­betes, smok­ing and many other char­ac­ter­is­tics that might af­fect the risks.

There may be a con­nec­tion be­tween diet foods and weight gain: Study

Peo­ple try­ing to lose weight should stop reach­ing for ‘diet’ foods, ac­cord­ing to a new study that found that the high lev­els of sugar in the prod­ucts could ac­tu­ally be hav­ing the op­po­site ef­fect.

A team of re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia fed a group of rats a diet high in sugar but low in fat to im­i­tate many pop­u­lar diet foods. An­other group was fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet, and a third group was given a bal­anced, ‘nor­mal’ diet.

Af­ter mon­i­tor­ing the rats for a four-week pe­riod, the team found that rather than lose weight thanks to the ‘diet’ food, the rats on this diet ac­tu­ally in­creased body fat mass when com­pared to rats fed a bal­anced ro­dent diet.

In ad­di­tion, the team found that the low-fat, high-sugar and high-fat, high-sugar diets caused in­flam­ma­tion in the brain, a con­di­tion that could hin­der the brain’s abil­ity to de­ter­mine when one is full.

“Most so-called diet prod­ucts con­tain­ing low or no fat have an in­creased amount of sugar and are cam­ou­flaged un­der fancy names, giv­ing the im­pres­sion that they are healthy, but the re­al­ity is that those foods may dam­age the liver and lead to obe­sity as well,” lead au­thor Krzysztof Czaja said.

The study was pub­lished on­line in the jour­nal Phys­i­ol­ogy and Be­hav­ior.

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