New question marks over the safety of diet soda have arisen following a study linking intake of artificially sweetened beverages to both stroke and dementia.
The study, published online in Stroke on April 20, showed that consumption of one can of diet soda or more each day was associated with a three times increased risk for stroke and dementia over a 10-year follow-up period compared with individuals who drank no artificially sweetened beverages.
“There are many studies now suggesting detrimental effects of sugary beverages, but I think we also need to consider the possibility that diet drinks may not be healthy alternatives,” lead author, Matthew P. Pase, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.
“We can’t show cause and effect in this study as it is observational in design, but given the popularity of diet drinks we desperately need more research on this question.”
He is not yet recommending against diet beverages based on this study, he added, “but I would urge caution — especially to those individuals who consume multiple diet drinks daily. I believe we need to rethink the place of these drinks.”
It is possible that the observation could be due to reverse causality, he noted. “It is not clear whether the diet sodas are causing stroke and dementia or whether unhealthy people gravitate more towards these drinks than healthier people.
“If you already have cardiovascular risk factors, you are likely to have been advised to lower your sugar intake and so may move away from sugary beverages to diet drinks,” Dr Pase said. “We did find that a higher intake of diet soda was linked to diabetes at baseline, but again we don’t know which came first. Did the diet drinks increase the risk of developing diabetes, or did diabetic patients choose diet drinks as they have to limit their sugar intake?”
Link original: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878894?src=soc_fb_170420_mscpedt_news_neuro_dietdrink