Diet drinks TRIPLE your risk of stroke and dementia

Diet drinks TRIPLE your risk of stroke and dementia

By Sophie Borland Health Editor For The Daily Mail
Boston University researchers found aspartame, a low-calorie sweetener, wreaks havoc on the arteries – as opposed to sugar-sweetened drinks
They found a direct link between this damage and dementia or stroke risk
The news comes amid a surge in popularity for diet drinks in kids and adults

Adults who have at least one diet drink a day are three times more at risk from a stroke or dementia, research shows today.

Scientists say they should no longer be regarded as the healthier alternative and urge the public to stick to water or milk.

Their study of almost 4,400 adults also suggests diet drinks are more likely to cause strokes and dementia than those full of sugar.

There was no link between sugary beverages and either of the illnesses – although the researchers aren’t encouraging us to drink them either.

The team of scientists from Boston University believe the artificial sweeteners including aspartame and saccharine maybe affecting the blood vessels, eventually triggering strokes and dementia.

Boston University researchers found aspartame, a low-calorie sweetener, wreaks havoc on the arteries – as opposed to sugar-sweetened drinks – driving up one’s risk of dementia
Boston University researchers found aspartame, a low-calorie sweetener, wreaks havoc on the arteries – as opposed to sugar-sweetened drinks – driving up one’s risk of dementia

Diet drinks account for a quarter of the sweetened beverages market but there is growing evidence they are not as healthy as previously thought.

A major review in January by Imperial College London researchers found they were no better at aiding weight loss than full fat drinks.

In fact the authors suggested they were encouraging obesity by triggering the sugar receptors in the brain, making us crave sweet food.

In this latest study – published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke – researchers looked at 4,372 adults over the age of 45.

They had filled in detailed questionnaires on their food and drink intake in the 1990s and were then tracked for ten years.

WHAT DOES LOW-CALORIE ACTUALLY MEAN?

LOW SUGAR

Many believe that ‘no sugar added’ and ‘sugar free’ mean the same thing, but that’s not the case. The former indicates the manufacturer has not added any sugar to the product.

Fruit juices, for example, might boast ‘no sugar added’ – but if you look at the nutrition label, you’ll see that it’s pure sugar.

Many products labeled ‘no added sugar’ contain artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols.

A 2004 study found that when we offer our bodies sweet diet drinks but give them no calories, they crave real sugar even more.

LOW SODIUM

Many think the majority of salt intake comes from a salt shaker. In fact, about 75 percent of dietary sodium actually comes from eating packaged and restaurant food.

Food labels that advertise lower sodium are a good way to help people make more healthful choices. But after that, what we think those labels mean gets a bit fuzzy, according to a 2013 study.

Researchers at the University of Toronto asked 506 Canadians about a fake tomato soup can with various label claims. They found that any claim made about sodium, preventing disease or lowering blood pressure made the product more appealing.

When asked about a variety of health issues, including losing weight, constipation, and diabetes, participants in the survey said that lower-sodium products would prevent all of them. But reducing sodium only helps to reduce blood pressure.

LOW FAT

Reports came out in the late 1980s identifying dietary fat as the single most important change that needed to be made in order to improve diet and health.

And so, in the late 1990s, low-fat diets swept the nation. What was left unrealized was that many of these foods contained the same amount of calories and other additives.

Low-fat foods are often full of sugars and preservatives, and sometimes contain even more sugar than a full-fat version.

Nutrition experts believe high levels of sugar contribute not just to rising levels of obesity, but also other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, dental cavities and cancer.

The results showed that adults who had one or more diet drink a day were 2.9 times more likely to develop dementia and 3 times more at risk of stroke

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