People who regularly consume sweetened drinks–whether it’s the the regular, sugary variety, or the “diet” alternative–may be at greater risk for Alzheimers and dementia, according to a new MRI study.
The study, entitled Sugary beverage intake and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in the community, was published last week in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. The researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine discovered that people who consumed more than one sweetened beverage daily showed poor results in memory tests, as well as reduced brain volume overall, as seen via MRI.
“…we found that those who more frequently consume sugary beverages, such as fruit juices and sodas had greater evidence of accelerated brain aging such as overall smaller brain volumes, they had poorer memory function and they also had smaller hippocampus, which is an area of the brain important for memory consolidation,” said Matthew Pase, a lead author of the study.
The study found that a daily habit of consuming sweetened beverages equates to approximately 3.5 years of age-related brain volume shrinkage. The study further found that so-called “diet” drinks are probably worse for the brain than their plain sugar counterparts.
“We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not consume diet soda,” said Pase.