As much as we love the sweet stuff, consumption of sugar in larger quantities can create havoc for our health and well-being. It is the devil, which you definitely need to be cautious of. While one may keep a check on the number of candies and cookies to munch on, or the spoons of sugar to add in tea, what we need to pay more attention to is “hidden sugar”. Almost all processed foods contain large quantities of sugar, such as aerated drinks, fruit juices, cakes, biscuits, sauces, etc. Artificial sweeteners are far worse for health. According to a study done by Boston University’s School of Medicine in the US, the researchers found that both sugar and artificially-sweetened beverage consumption has been linked to cardio-metabolic risk factors.
The study revealed some shocking facts. It stated that people who drink fizzy beverages or diet soda daily are three times more likely to develop stroke and dementia. The findings indicated that people who frequently consume sugary beverages are likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volumes and smaller hippocampal volumes, which is an area of the brain important for memory.
“Our findings indicate an association between higher sugary beverage intake and brain atrophy, including lower brain volume and poorer memory,” said corresponding author Matthew Pase.
“We also found that people drinking diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia. This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke – where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed and Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia,” he added.
About the Study
For the study, the team analysed approximately 4,000 participants over the age of 30 and examined them using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing to measure the relationship between beverage intake and brain volumes as well as thinking and memory. They then monitored 2,888 participants age 45 and over for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia for 10 years.
The results suggested that people, who more frequently consumed diet soda, were also more likely to be diabetic which is thought to increase the risk of dementia. However, even after excluding diabetics from the study, diet soda consumption was still associated with the risk of dementia. The researchers further suggested that people should be cautious about regularly consuming either diet sodas or sugary beverages
The study appeared in the journal of Alzheimer’s & Dementia.