Diet soda may increase risk for stroke and dementia
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.