Drinking diet drinks could put you at risk of increased health problems in comparison to their full fat counterparts.
Most of us reach for a can of diet drink or a sugar free option as a way of still satisfying our cravings without the guilt of having the ‘full sugar’ option, but apparently that’s not advisable.
Shockingly, a new study has revealed even having one can of the sugar free option can massively up your chances of developing dementia or suffering a stroke, the Guardian reports.
Scientists have now said these sugar-free/diet options should not be seen as the healthy version and people should just stick to uber safe options like water or milk instead.
To reach their unnerving conclusion, 4,400 adults were studied by scientists from Boston University. They believe artificial sweeteners – which include aspartame and saccharine – negatively affect blood vessels, leading to dementia and strokes.
The study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, tracked 4,372 adults over the age of 45 for ten years and the results found those who had one or more diet drink a day were 2.9 times more likely to develop dementia.
On top of that, there were also three times more likely to suffer a stroke compared to those who didn’t consume any at all.
Senior fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Matthew Pase said:
Our study shows a need to put more research into this area given how often people drink artificially sweetened beverages.
Although we did not find an association between stroke or dementia and the consumption of sugary drinks, this certainly does not mean they are a healthy option.
We recommend that people drink water on a regular basis instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages.
Even if someone is three times as likely to develop stroke or dementia, it is by no means a certain fate.
In our study, 3 percent of the people had a new stroke and 5 percent developed dementia, so we’re still talking about a small number of people developing either stroke or dementia.
Past Chairwoman of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, Rachel Johnson said:
We know that limiting added sugars is an important strategy to support good nutrition and healthy body weights, and until we know more, people should use artificially sweetened drinks cautiously.
They may have a role for people with diabetes and in weight loss, but we encourage people to drink water, low-fat milk or other beverages without added sweeteners.
There still seems to be some confusion as to whether these drinks cause these illnesses themselves or whether those who consume them are already at risk of developing them due to underlying health problems.
Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Rosa Sancho said:
As people are becoming more aware of the consequences of a high-sugar diet, many are turning to artificially-sweetened diet fizzy drinks as an alternative to those with lots of sugar.
This interesting new study has pointed to higher rates of dementia in people who drink more artificially-sweetened drinks, but it doesn’t show that these drinks are the cause of this altered risk.
Future studies will need to confirm these findings in other groups of people, and explore what might be underlying any link between artificially-sweetened soft drinks and dementia.
At this stage though, the British Soft Drinks Association have rebuked these claims saying there needs to be more research and evidence into this before a solid conclusion can be made.
Director-general of the industry body, Gavin Partington said:
Despite their claims, the authors of this observational study admit they found no cause and effect and provide no science-based evidence whatsoever to support their theories.
In fact, based on the evidence, Public Health England is actively encouraging food and drink companies to use low-calorie sweeteners as an alternative to sugar and help people manage their weight.
Surely we should be trying to help consumers reduce their calorie intake, not presenting unproven claims?
At least it’s not been 100 per cent confirmed at this stage, although it’s a chance I do not want to take…
See you later diet cans… You will be sorely missed.