Diet Soda, Your Health, and Your Brain

Diet soda drinkers take note: people who drink one or more diet sodas every day are at greater risk of stroke and dementia.

More specifically, habitual diet soda drinkers have almost three times the risk of stroke or dementia compared to their diet soda-abstinent peers, according to a research study published in Stroke.

Researchers relied on two large, ongoing cohort studies. The Framingham Heart Study, begun in 1948, is a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular research effort, and the Offspring Cohort, begun in 1971, is a prospective epidemiologic study of the “offspring” from the Framingham group.

With over 10,000 participants from both study groups, researchers identified the strong correlation between habitual diet soda intake and increased risk of stroke and dementia.

The connection between diet soda and dementia deserves a closer look.

Links Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

We have previously reported on the link between excess sugar consumption > glucose intolerance > diabetes risk. Having diabetes is highly correlated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So why would artificial sweeteners also trigger a precursor to diabetes – glucose intolerance? Current research points to one or more possible causes:

1. Synthetic sweeteners are adept at tricking your brain into thinking you’re consuming real sugar with no calories, which can lead to overeating of both artificial and real sugar.

2. Synthetic sweeteners appear to alter the gut microbiome in ways that can lead to insulin resistance, also a precursor to diabetes.

A list of common artificial sweeteners:

  • Acesulfame Potassium – Sunnett, Sweet One
  • Aspartame – Nutrasweet, Equal
  • Saccharin – Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin
  • Sucralose – Splenda
  • Stevia/Rebaudioside – Stevia, Truvia, PureVia

Switch to Water and Citrus?

Many people enjoy sodas for the taste and “fizzy” bubbles. As an alternative, try sparkling water with a slice of orange or lemon. Added bonus: citrus fruit flavonoids reduce the risk of ischemic stroke.

Also, download this free guide to the Top 10 Foods For Brain Health.