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America’s Soft Drink Addiction: How Soda Can Affect Your Brain

Posted by on Thursday, January 31st, 2013

It seems America is addicted to soft drinks and unfortunately most are either high in sugar that may increase risks of Alzheimer’s disease, or contain Aspartame in diet drinks. There are many rumors about the effects of Aspartame, but are these soft drinks really so unhealthy and if so, are they allowed in a healthy Alzheimer’s nutrition diet?

why soda is bad for Alzheimer's nutrition

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There is a growing body of evidence that diet soda and soda of all kinds can cause a variety of health concerns. A recent study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center found that those who drank diet soft drinks daily may have an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. In the study, those individuals were actually found to be 43% more likely to suffer a vascular event than those who drank no diet drinks. 

how soda affects the body in Alzheimer's nutrition

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More Research

Another study at the University of Alabama, involving mice, showed that the mice that were fed soft drinks high in sugar showed greater plaque deposits on their brains. These plaque deposits are one of the precursors to Alzheimer’s and other brain related diseases. 

eating sugar addiction in america

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A study conducted by Geriatric Research and Clinical Education Center at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle found that subjects who drank soft drinks with sugar containing a high glycemic level (foods that raise blood sugar in sharp increments) had higher levels of beta – amyloid, which could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The point of this study was to prove that diet and sugar levels are important to maintain the health of your body in general and your brain in particular. Studies are focusing on proper diet to keep Alzheimer’s at bay and drinking sugary drinks seem to lead to issues both physically and with brain functions. 

 There is also an increasing focus on Aspartame (found in diet soft drinks), as well as Sucralose, Sacharin, and other artificial sweeteners (more commonly known as Equal, Splenda or Sweet’N Low) as a leading culprit in causing a variety of health issues these days. A study at Columbia University in conjunction with the Miller School of Medicine found for instance that there was a correlation between diet soda and stroke. The cause of a stroke is a restriction in the blood flow to the brain, which in turn can result in loss of motor function, paralysis, and if not treated, permanent brain damage. This study reveals that there is a direct link between Aspartame and brain health.  

Making Healthier Choices

Although the evidence is still being gathered and the FDA is standing by their analysis of Aspartame, avoiding these artificial sweeteners as well as sugary drinks will only help your overall health. But with the prevalence of soda and diet soda it’s hard to make wise decisions when choosing beverages. There are many options for replacing soda with healthier drinks for Alzheimer’s nutrition. You can create your own beverages and begin to replace the sodas and diet sodas that you drink. 

One option is to mix carbonated water or club soda with low sugar fruit juices. This mixture can be made with small amounts of light juice to keep the sugar content low. One benefit is that you won’t be adding a huge amount of calories, depending on the amount of fruit juice used, and it will taste similar to the soda you are trying to eliminate from your Alzheimer’s prevention diet. Another option is to replace your soda consumption with green tea. Green tea can be served hot or cold or even as a green tea latte and sweetened with natural sweeteners such as Stevia. Antioxidants in green tea can give you a variety of health benefits. Chai tea can also be prepared as a delicious hot or iced latte and of course plain water is always a great choice and it serves as a hunger suppressant as well.

Healthy Low Sugar Chai Tea Latte

chai tea latte healthy drink for Alzheimer's nutrition

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Makes 5 cups of caffeine free Chai Tea 

Boil 4 cups of water then bring to a simmer add following ingredients;

4 cups water- bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and add all the ingredients below.


10 whole cloves

12 whole cardamom pods

12 whole black peppercorns

2 cinnamon sticks

4 slices fresh ginger (that’s the root, just chop it up)

1 cup light coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk

1 tablespoons raw honey or 1 teaspoon stevia (or more to taste)

Let steep for at least 30 minutes- or longer, the longer it steeps the better it tastes!

For a low sugar Chai tea latte’ at a coffee shop, simply follow these steps;

Order the loose leaf tea or little packets of tea that are chai flavored. Ask your server to leave about an inch at the top, and fill the rest up with soy milk, rice milk or light milk, and just a small amount of honey, then top with cinnamon.

In Conclusion

Diet soda and soda in general can be extremely addictive and trying to stop drinking it is difficult, but there are some strategies that can really help you to find healthy substitutes. However with the increasing evidence of all the issues that this drink causes, and for those working toward complying with a healthy Alzheimer’s nutrition diet, you probably will want to find a way to work diet and high sugar soft drinks out of your diet completely. Getting rid of the soda can help improve your brain heath and may just give you another weapon in your arsenal to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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