You may have seen it on the news or social media – two new studies suggest soda pop may be linked to stroke and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The studies appeared in the journals Stroke and Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
If you’re a soda pop drinker – sugary or diet – this may give you pause for thought. Here are four things to consider:
- Correlation is not causation. Retrospective dietary studies like the highly-respected Framingham Heart Study look at a large group over people over a long period of time to see what they ate and what their health outcomes are. This in no way provides proof that what they ate (or did not eat) CAUSED their later health outcomes. It could be people who elect to drink diet soda are disproportionately less healthy than those who chose regular soda.
- The mind and body are complicated. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Like other chronic conditions, experts believe that Alzheimer's develops as a complex result of multiple factors rather than any one overriding cause.”
- Blood sugar is important. Many studies point to increased dementia risk for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. This topic has been studied intensively using different designs, which lends strength to the conclusions about the negative effects of “regular” soda.
- Whole foods are king. Current dietary recommendations are to eat a varied diet of minimally-processed whole foods. These guidelines support healthy eating habits as key to prevention.
As always, talk with your doctor about the food and drink choices that are best for you.