Frequent Consumption of Sodas, Artificially Sweetened Fruit Juices Linked To Faster Brain Aging

A new study has revealed that people who drink sugary beverages such as sodas and fruit juices frequently are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a smaller hippocampus—an area of the brain responsible for learning and formation of memories. In follow-up study, it was also found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to experience stroke and  dementia when compared to those who did so less than once a week.

For the first study,published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers examined data from about 4,000 participants who were enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study’s Offspring and Third-Generation cohorts – using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and cognitive tests. Then, they looked at participants who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day of any type — soda, fruit juice, and other soft drinks — or more than three per week of soda alone. Multiple signs of accelerated brain aging, including smaller overall brain volume, poorer episodic memory, and a shrunken hippocampus, which are the early signs of Alzheimer ’s disease, were found among the high intake group. The team also found that participants who consumed diet soda at least one per day had smaller brain volume.

For the second study, published in Stroke, researchers used data only from the older Offspring cohort to look specifically at whether participants had suffered a stroke or been diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. They measured participants’ beverage intake at three points over seven years, then monitored the volunteers for 10 years, looking for evidence of stroke in 2,888 people over age 45, and dementia in 1,484 participants over age 60. Here, the researchers failed to find evidence of correlation between sugary beverage intake and increased risk stroke or dementia. However, they found that participants who drank at least one diet soda a day were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia.

Source:  Boston University 
1. Sugary beverage intake and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in the community. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2017.01.024
2. Sugar and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia. Stroke, 2017. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.116.016027