Adding less than three teaspoons of sugar to your tea every day increases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.
Sweetening food or drinks with just two-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar makes people 54 per cent more likely to develop the condition, a US study found.
Indulging in just one can of sugary soda a day increases the risk of dementia by 47 per cent compared to those who only consume such beverages around once every three months, the research adds.
Speaking of the findings, Dr Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Too much sugar is linked to type 2 diabetes and previous research has identified type 2 diabetes as a risk factor for dementia.
‘This study backs up this evidence, suggesting that excess sugar may increase our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and all types of sugar – from fruit juice to lemonade – have the same impact.
‘By cutting down on the fizzy drinks, sweets and cakes, and eating a varied and balanced diet, we will be able to reduce our risk of developing dementia in later life.’
How the research was carried out
Researchers from Columbia University analysed 2,226 people who did not initially have dementia over around seven years.
At the start of the study, the participants completed questionnaires about whether they added sugar to their food or drinks.
Of the participants, 429 developed Alzheimer’s during the study.
Punch and other fruity drinks also raise the risk
Results further suggest people who add 30.3 grams of sugar to their food or drinks every day are 33 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who consume just 5.8 grams.
Those who consume high amounts of punch or other fruity soft beverages are 27 per cent more likely to develop dementia than people who drink the least.
The findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago.
Following a Nordic diet protects the memory
This comes after research released yesterday suggested eating a trendy Viking-inspired diet may reduce the risk of dementia by up to 30 per cent.
Opting for seafood, whole grains and nuts lowers people’s risk of cognitive decline, particularly when combined with an active lifestyle, a study by Tianjin Medical University, China, found.
Similarly to Mediterranean diets, the Nordic way of eating promotes home cooked meals with little sugar.
Previous research suggests the anti-inflammatory properties of staple Mediterranean foods, such as oily fish and vegetables, prevent dementia by stopping blood vessel damage in the brain.
Speaking of the findings, Dr Brown said: ‘Diet and staying active – both mentally and physically – are key considerations when it comes to limiting your risk of developing dementia, but this study went a step further and found that combining both activities may reduce cognitive decline further.
‘These results support the findings of our own funded research into how what we eat can reduce the risk of developing problems with memory and thinking.
‘Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, but there are things we can all do now to help lower our chances of developing the condition, including healthy eating and keeping our body and mind active.’
24 July 2018