Claim: Drinking soda, fruit juice hurts memory

The junk science-fueled war against soda continues.

If soda and fruit juice harm memory, how can you rely on self-reported data from people who have consumed soad and fruit juice? Just askin’.


The media release and abstract are below.


Daily consumption of sodas, fruit juices and artificially sweetened sodas affect brain


(Boston)–Data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) has shown that people who more frequently consume sugary beverages such as sodas and fruit juices are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volumes and smaller hippocampal volumes–an area of the brain important for memory. Researchers also found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not consume diet soda.

These findings appear separately in the journals Alzheimer’s & Dementia and the journal Stroke.

“Our findings indicate an association between higher sugary beverage intake and brain atrophy, including lower brain volume and poorer memory,” explained corresponding author Matthew Pase, PhD, fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and investigator at the FHS.

“We also found that people drinking diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia. This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the most common form of dementia,” he said.

Excess sugar is known to have adverse effects on health. Diet soft drinks are often touted as a healthier alternative to regular soda. However both sugar and artificially-sweetened beverage consumption has been linked to cardiometabolic risk factors, which increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease and dementia.

In these studies approximately 4,000 participants over the age of 30 from the community-based FHS were examined using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing to measure the relationship between beverage intake and brain volumes as well as thinking and memory. The researchers then monitored 2,888 participants age 45 and over for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia for 10 years.

The researchers point out that preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure did not completely explain their findings. For example, people who more frequently consumed diet soda were also more likely to be diabetic, which is thought to increase the risk of dementia. However, even after excluding diabetics from the study, diet soda consumption was still associated with the risk of dementia.

Although the researchers suggest that people should be cautious about regularly consuming either diet sodas or sugary beverages, it is premature to say their observations represent cause and effect. Future studies are needed to test whether giving people artificial sweeteners causes adverse effects on the brain.


9 thoughts on “Claim: Drinking soda, fruit juice hurts memory”

  1. Carl, your comment was spot on. I suspect that most epidemiological studies consciously or unconsciously involve cherry picking. They should be confirmed by a second, independent study before being published.

  2. It has been found that if one swallows small amounts of liquid continually throughout the day, every day of your life, will likely cause you to possibly die of something.

  3. ^ I understand that it has been proven that inhaling the smoke causes the immune system to respond to remove the chemicals and therefore weakens the bodys defences. Im hardly knowledgeable about it. Im sure it is bad to smoke.

  4. adam: I really do feel my father smoking took at least twenty years of his life away. yet there is the Japanese problem who smoke heavily and do not have the lung cancer problem, is it the The Japanese homes in the pase with their smokey houses created a group of people genetically tolerant to PM2.5, as far as the EPA estimate of the population risk to PM2.5 is pure BS, as a nosmoker my breathing in of PM2.5 to match what my father took in I would have to live to be somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 years, somehow I don’t think I will live that long. Now that the case of my wife she did have small cell lung cancer and she was a nonsmoker, my only guess on that is she drew the short straw in the genetic lottery. You comment Epidemiology has never been proven.” my answer is one of my axions in life, and it is what most epidemiology study do wrong, beside a host of others, my Axion is IF YOU ASK THE WRONG QUESTION YOU WILL ALWAY GET THE WRONG ANSWER.

  5. Epidemiology has never been proven. They say its legitimate because it linked smoking to lung cancer, but 50 years of puff since has failed to find the scientific mechanism. The current argument is a really unusual and obscure one to do with chemicals in the smoke causing random genetic mutations which eventually result in a cancer. That just seems so indirect to me to be possibly not testable.

    I would like to know of a discovery made by epidemiology.

  6. “But we have a crisis of an entirely different sort: we produce a huge amount of new theories and yet none of them is ever empirically confirmed. Let’s call it the overproduction crisis. We use the approved methods of our field, see they don’t work, but don’t draw consequences. Like a fly hitting the window pane, we repeat ourselves over and over again, expecting different results.”

    This was written by a physicist. So imagine how bad it is outside of hard sciences.

  7. Most of epidemiology is crap.

    Step 1: Take a lot of data.
    Step 2: Look for correlations in 1,000 different ways.
    Step 3: Find a correlation that could only happen 1x in 1,000.
    Step 4: Publish.
    Step 5: Ask for more funding.

    Back in the old days, you needed a hypothesis first (some mechanism for harm to occur). Then you designed a statistical study to test it. If you couldn’t get 95% confidence at the level your study supported, there wasn’t anything to talk about.

    It worked for cigarettes causing lung cancer. That resulted in billions of dollars in lawsuits. Demand then exploded for epidemiological studies with actionable results. And so today we see crap generated because there’s a pot of gold out there.

    Now that this “science” has been corrupted, those with agendas find it easy to buy or create studies to support them.

  8. Drinking soda is only one variable. Everything else the person eats, where he lives, his family medial history (going back generations), ethnicity, occupation, exercise habits (and hundreds of other variables) all must be measured to see what, if any, effect soda has in the total picture. Since they did not input all the variables, the conclusions are meaningless.

    That’s like saying that only CO2 affects temperature and the sun, oceans, volcanic activity, trade winds, etc. have no effect on our climate. OOPS – I forgot, that is what the same people are already saying…

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