Apr 22, 2017 10:48 AM EDT
A new study by Boston University has shown that excess sugar, particularly those found in sugary drinks, can cause brain damage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture noted that Americans consumed about 11 million metric tons last year.
The researchers used data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and discovered that people who often consume sugary drinks have higher chances of experiencing poorer memory. It was also found that they have a smaller overall brain volume and a smaller hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that helps with learning and memory.
Moreover, Science Daily reported that a follow-up study showed that people who drank diet sodas daily had the highest chances of developing stroke and dementia. These findings were published in the journals "Alzheimer's & Dementia" and "Stroke."
In the first study, the researchers studied data such as magnetic resolution imaging (MRI) scans and cognitive testing results of about 4,000 people enrolled in FHS' Offspring and Third-Generation cohorts. They looked at people who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day. This could be any type such as soda, fruit juice and other soft drinks.
They were labeled as the "high intake" group and had multiple signs of brain aging, including smaller overall brain volume. They also had poorer episodic memory and a shrunken hippocampus.
With the second study, the researchers aimed to find out whether participants had suffered a stroke or have been diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. There was no correlation between sugary beverage intake and stroke or dementia. They did find that people who drank at least one soda per day were three times more likely to develop stroke and dementia.
According to NBC News, Matthew Pase of the Boston University School of Medicine, who led the study, said that their study provided further evidence to link consumption of artificially sweetened beverages with the risk of stroke. They were the first to find an association between daily intake of sugary drinks and an increase of both all-cause dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.
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