Settling the soda diet and dementia debate — for now

Settling the soda diet and dementia debate — for now

Written by Simon Spichk, MA | October 6 2022

Is diet soda linked to dementia? Despite the occasional media frenzy about whether Diet Coke causes Alzheimer’s disease, here’s what the current, reliable, and published research says.

Diet Soda: By cutting out the high sugar content and replacing it with artificial sweeteners, it supposed To be a healthier alternative to classic pop music. However, it always seems to be badly damaged. Browsing the internet, diet sodas seem to be linked to every disease under the sun, from cancer to diabetes. Despite these claims, artificial sweeteners have been studied for decades, with dozens of Studies that support their general safety As food additives. That didn’t stop the development of a new myth surrounding diet soda and dementia from spreading viral: In 2017, a study published in brain attack It has led dozens of news outlets to claim that diet sodas triple the risk of stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.

Just take a look at some of these troubling headlines: Why is diet soda so bad for your brain?And the 12 Coca-Cola for Trump’s Diet a Day Can Really Be Bad for YouAnd the And the Drink Diet Coke, Get Surprising Claims Research. Suffice it to say, these titles are more confident in the conclusions than the study authors are. No, this isolated research has not proven that diet soda causes or increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s take a closer look at what he actually found.

So, diet soda In fact Bad for the brain?

A 2017 study on artificial sweeteners used in soft drinks like Diet Coke examined 2,888 people over the age of 45 to assess whether regular soft drink consumption and diet increase the risk of stroke. They also studied 1,484 people over the age of 60 to see if soft drinks affected the risk of developing dementia. The study used self-reports through a survey called a food frequency questionnaire to estimate how often people drank diet or regular soda.

While they found that people who drank diet sodas had a threefold greater risk of stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, the study authors weren’t sure about the direction of soda intake. Cause and Effect.

People who drank more diet soda had a higher prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Does this mean that diet soda is the root cause of these diseases? There is no way, from this research, to know. But there’s definitely a chance that someone who drinks a lot of diet soda is trying to cut back on sugars because they’re already aware of some health issues — or myriad other variables.

Several researchers have published criticism in response to the study, citing problems with statistical analysis And the Self-reported food questionnaireand casting doubt the authenticity of the results. (For starters, this is as close to a rap battle as possible—using references to scientific studies rather than rhymes.)

Without going into the details of the statistical methods, it’s safe to say that the study did not convincingly prove any link between diet soda and dementia.

It’s also important to note that only one other study has been done on diet soda and cognition since then, and come to the opposite conclusion: Instead, people who drink regular soda — not diet soda — was the group most likely to develop cognitive decline over a six-year period. However, these findings have not received the same amount of media attention.

A few observational studies on something like hard to measure Because the health risks of a single ingredient in a much broader diet don’t make a strong argument for switching from one soft drink to another. But if you’re tempted to give up soda entirely for a healthier option, Unsweetened teaor black coffee It might be your best bet. There is no strong evidence for the presence of tea or coffee Good For your brain health, but humans have been enjoying it for centuries. Everything in moderation.

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