Artificial Sweeteners Could be linked to the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

By now you would have realised that we are advocates for a low sugar and low acidity diet. And just when we thought we had covered all angles for our campaign on this, up pops another study which adds more weight to our arguments for a healthy diet.

The American Heart Association grabbed our attention with the tag line “a diet soda a day might affect dementia risk…” so we read-on to find out more. The AHA begin by confirming that the study is only an observational study so it may be more of a hypothesis than hard facts. However, the results, determined from approximately 4,000 participants show a strong trend toward the findings.

The study was conducted over 17 years with a control group of participants in the age range of 45-60 years. Participants completed periodic dietary questionnaires and were sorted into two different ‘arms’, or findings specific divisions for the study. These arms aimed to study dementia and stroke analysis.

The findings, were:

• 3% of participants suffered strokes. 82 of those strokes were caused by a shortage of oxygen and glucose which restricted the blood supply to the tissues of the brain (this condition is called Ischaemia);

• 5% of participants were diagnosed in the dementia arm of the study, with 63 participants confirmed as having Alzheimer’s disease.

These figures may not sound alarming, however what researchers found was that participants who consumed one artificially sweetened drink per day were 2.96 times more likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientific name for compulsive ice eating is pagophagia. For some people, it goes beyond the level of a bad habit and actually indicates a psychological disorder called pica. Pica is the compulsion to eat non-food items such as dirt, clay, hair, or ice, and it is sometimes caused by a nutritional deficiency.

Researchers admit that more biological studies are needed in order to confirm definitively the effects of artificial sweeteners. However they, and we, are quick to confirm that these results do not mean that you should switch back to full sugary drinks. The director of the Nutrition Studies department of Stanford Prevention Research Centre, Christopher Gardner Ph.D. confirm that for people with diabetes or obesity, the switch from sugary drinks to artificially sweetened drinks can be tricky. But he urges people to remember that artificially sweetened drinks are not a health food.

Further evidence, supporting our case for a healthy diet, was found in a study reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in April. It was reported that a high consumption of sugary beverages was associated with patterned preclinical Alzheimer’s, including memory lapse and smaller brain volume. The remarkable thing with these results is that they were found in middle-aged participants. With the backing of a wealth of studies which have confirmed the negative side-effects of a high sugar diet, plus the results of the artificial sweetener study, all we can now do is implore you to partake in a whole food based diet. In the words of Mr Gardner, “the bottom line is, have more water and have less diet soda”.

For more information on artificial sweeteners, please do not hesitate to contact DentalCareXtra. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.

References: American Heart Association, (2017). A diet soda a day might affect dementia risk, study suggests. Retrieved from: Shanker, D. (2017).

Artificial sweeteners linked to risk of Alzheimer’s and stroke, study says. Retrieved from: