Daily dose of diet soda tied to triple the risk of deadly stroke

If you are partial to a can of Pepsi Max at lunch, or enjoy a splash of Coke Zero with your favorite rum — you might want to put that drink back on the ice.



If you are partial to a can of Pepsi Max at lunch, or enjoy a splash of Coke Zero with your favorite rum — you might want to put that drink back on the ice.


According to a new study, just one diet drink per day can triple the risk of a deadly stroke, with researchers also finding the drinks have a “troubling association” with dementia.

The team of researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, said that people who consume a can of artificially-sweetened soft drinks per day were at three times the risk of suffering the most common form of stroke in comparison with non-drinkers.

The US research also found that a diet soda fans were 2.9 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. But after the administrative processing of all the lifestyle factors, the researchers found the link to dementia was statistically significant, but the effect on the risk of stroke remained.


The research, which looked at ten years of data on more than 4,300 people, indicates that people need to look further than the word ‘diet’ when making drink choices.

“Drinking at least one artificially-sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing a stroke or dementia in comparison with those who drank artificially sweetened beverages, less than once per week,” the study read, which was published in Stroke, the journal of the American Heart Association.

“After correction for age, gender, education (for the analysis of dementia), caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking, higher current and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia.”

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between the daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and an increased risk of both cause dementia and dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease,” the co-authors added.



Diet drinks contain no calories because they use artificial sweeteners, which are hundreds, sometimes thousands of times sweeter than sugar.

There is public concern about some sweetening matter, with scientists all over the world with the argument that the low-calorie substitutes may lead to weight gain and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“A lot of people assume that they must be healthy choices to make, because they are not sugared drinks, but the critical thing for people to understand is that we don’t have the evidence,” Prof Susan Swithers, of the US-Purdue University told the BBC.

Usually, the different types of sweeteners used in diet drinks assortment of Aspartame, Saccharin and Stevia.

Aspartame is the most commonly used sweetener in diet drinks, and is also the most controversial.

200 times sweeter than sugar, it is used all over the world as a sugar substitute, including cereals, chewing gum and lollipops.

“Diet drinks, despite the fact that there is no sugar and no calories, and actually taste much sweeter than regular soft drinks,” nutritionist Kristen Beck told

“The problem is that the human brain is not set up to cope with the intense sweet, zero-calorie version of the sweetness that artificial sweeteners provide.”


People are set up to desire and seek sweet foods, and when they eat something sweet,

the brain responds to sweetness with signals to eat more.

“Artificial sweeteners provide an intense sweet taste without calories, which can actually cause you to crave more sweet food and drinks,” Ms Beck said.

“In turn, the sweetness drive you to eat more kilojoules from sweet foods and beverages than you normally would.

“While sugar signals of a positive sense of reward, artificial sweeteners is not possible

an effective way to manage a craving for sweets.

“Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain,” Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox said.

According To Prof. dr. Swithers, intake of sweeteners is also a hindrance to the way the body handles real sugar when consumed.

“We think that the diet sodas can be bad because they find it difficult to cope with the sugar that you consume,” she said.

“When the animals in real sugar they are not as good in the process, their hormonal responses get blunted, their blood sugar levels go up and it leads to weight gain.”

This article first appeared on the

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