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Many of us enjoy sugary drinks including soda, tea, fruit juice, etc. but besides being unhealthy and causing obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, there has been new evidence presented by Matthew Passé of Framingham Heart Study (FHS) suggesting there may be a relationship between sugar intake and brain health.
Studying a group of 4,000 volunteers since 1948 (69 years) they discovered dramatic proof of significant brain changes caused by excess sugar – particularly by fructose in sugary drinks.
For the last 10 years they included children and grandchildren of original participants. Using data gathered from MRI scans, cognitive testing, etc., they studied the older children (2,888 over 45 yrs. old and 1,484 over 60 years of age) while taking into account health conditions that occurred over the course of the study such as diabetes and smoking.
What did they find?
They found that 2 or more sugary drinks per day or three soda per week hurried brain aging showing smaller over-all brain volume especially the brain area used for learning and memory. Participants showed poorer sporadic memory and it increased the risk factors for early Alzheimer’s.
But before you run out to a store to purchase diet drinks and sugar substitutes it was found that –
Just 1 diet drink per day caused volunteers to be three times more likely to have a stroke, and three times more likely to have Dementia! This study also took into consideration uncontrollable risk factors like diet, smoking and diabetes.
However, while this study was far reaching and had many implications, it did not explain the cause and effect nor how artificial sweeteners can cause harm. Is it from transforming our digestive bacteria or altering the brains perception of sweet? What is the underlying cause?
We will be waiting to hear!

Reference: Journal of Alzheimer’s Dementia & Stroke
Source: Boston University img_552df9229d5c2
Featuring Matthew Passé
Neurology Dept. Fellow
Investigator at FHS

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