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Frequent soft drink intake tied to poorer cognitive function

14 Jan 2018

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks may lead to poorer cognitive performance, particularly in persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D), suggests a recent study. However, the underlying causal mechanisms remain unknown.

Stratification according to T2D status showed that frequent sugar-sweetened soft drink intakes significantly correlated with poorer performance in visual spatial memory, working memory, scanning and tracking, executive function, the global composite and the Mini-Mental State Examination in diabetic individuals.

Statistical control for body mass index (BMI) and other cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors did not attenuate the said associations. In addition, there was no relation between consumption of diet soft drink and cognitive performance.

“Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify these findings and the underlying causal mechanisms,” the investigators said.

Cross-sectional analyses were performed to investigate whether soft drink intakes, including both sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, were associated with cognitive performance, with adjustment for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors, and stratified by T2D status.

A total of 803 community-dwelling participants (aged 23‒98 years) from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study were included. An extensive battery of neuropsychological tests was conducted to measure cognitive function, and a food frequency questionnaire was used to assess usual dietary intake of soft drinks.

“The importance of adequate nutrition on cognitive performance is well recognized. Greater intakes of soft drinks are associated with a higher risk for T2D, as well as other cardiometabolic diseases,” according to the investigators.

“A few studies have specifically examined whether the intake of soft drinks may be related to cognitive function,” they added.

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