The American Heart Association published a study in their journal Stroke last month about artificial sweeteners in soft drinks possibly being linked to a higher risk of stroke and dementia. Artificial sweeteners are found in several drinks such as diet soda. Just to clarify, researchers did not find an actual cause and effect relationship between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and being at a higher risk for stroke and dementia, they were only able to find an association between them. Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study, stated:

We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population. More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health.

2,888 adults over the age of 45 and 1,484 adults over the age of 60 were studied in Framingham, Massachusetts between 1991 and 2001. Those age groups were chosen because stroke is rare for people under the age of 45 and dementia is rare for people under the age of 60.

More research will need to be done to get a better understanding of the health effects of artificial sweeteners and this is a great reminder to slow down on the consumption of sodas and sugary drinks, even the ones with sugar substitutes.

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