Drinking at least one artificially sweetened beverage daily was associated with almost three times the risk of developing stroke or dementia.
The findings come from new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
The authors caution that the long-term observational study was not designed or able to prove cause and effect, and only shows a trend among one group of people.
“Our study shows a need to put more research into this area given how often people drink artificially-sweetened beverages,” said Matthew Pase, Ph.D., a senior fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and the Framingham Heart Study.
Pase also warns consumers not to think of sugary drinks as healthier to their diet counterparts, adding “Although we did not find an association between stroke or dementia and the consumption of sugary drinks, this certainly does not mean they are a healthy option.”
Instead, the research recommends that people drink water regularly in place of sugary or artificially sweetened beverages.