Artificial Sweeteners Linked with Stroke and Dementia

While keeping off extra weight is an important component of living longer and in better health, a new study warns adults to steer clear of diet drinks containing aspartame and saccharine.

According to research from Boston University, there is a direct link between artificial sweeteners and an increased risk for strokes and dementia.  Studies have also found that diet drinks may be no help in keeping off weight and could even contribute to obesity by triggering sugar receptors in the brain which makes us crave sweets.

Scientists at Boston University studied nearly 4,400 adults over the age of 45 and found that those who drank one or more diet drinks a day were 2.9 per cent more likely to develop dementia and at 3 times the risk for a stroke compared with those who did not consume diet drinks.  Artificial sweeteners are believed to affect the blood vessels, leading to an increased risk for stoke and dementia.  Researchers still need more more evidence to support this theory but are recommending adults drink water, low-fat milk or other unsweetened drinks instead of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages.

It is yet unproven whether artificial sweeteners actually cause stroke or dementia or if adults who consume diet drinks are already at a higher risk from obesity or being overweight.  Either way, avoiding sugar and sugar substitutes, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise appear to be the best prescriptions to protect future health and prevent chronic illnesses which can have a direct impact on quality of life as we age.

To read the full study, published April 24, 2017 in the American Heart Association Journal Stroke, follow this link.