Do sugary sodas increase Alzheimer’s risk?

By • Published: March 3rd, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

How many cans of sugary soda will you drink today? Two, four, six? If your answer is on the high end of that spectrum, you probably already know that gulping too many super-sweet beverages can leave with you with a little extra not-so-sweet padding around your belly.

Now, new research shows that all this sugar may have even less appetizing effects, too.

University of Alabama scientists say drinking too may sweetened beverages could up your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers studied two groups of mice… those fed sugar water and those who weren’t. The sugar-fed mice gained more weight, developed metabolic problems and struggled with learning and memory retention. The researchers also discovered more amyloid [AMMA-lloyd] plaques in the brains of these mice. The plaques are clusters of proteins and dead cells that are thought to be precursors to Alzheimer’s disease.

So how much sugar did these mice ingest every day? The rodent equivalent to five cans of soda.

It’s not the first time scientists have linked sugar to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Past studies have connected the dots between Alzheimer’s risk, type two diabetes and elevated blood sugar.

What researchers don’t know is if sugar is putting people in danger or if it’s the calories that come with it.

Either way, easing up on sugar may be a safe bet. It may or may not reduce your chances of developing a memory disorder, but it could make one thing smaller… your waistline.