Researchers from Columbia University tracked the health and eating habits of 2226 elderly people in New York City over seven years. Of those, 429 developed Alzheimer’s disease. People who had consumed 30.3 grams of sugar daily—whether it was in soda or snacks—were 33 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who had taken in just 5.8 grams per day. That's about the same as drinking one Vitamin Water (27 grams) and putting a tablespoon of ketchup (5 grams) on your burger.
Although researchers took other sugary drinks and foods into account, soda was the item found to be “significantly” linked with a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s in people who drank a can of soda every other day, compared to those who drank soda just once every 100 days.
The findings, which were presented on Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago, have not yet been peer-reviewed.
Past research has shown a link between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes, which can result from excessive sugar intake [PDF]. “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," Doug Brown, chief policy and research officer at the London-based Alzheimer’s Society, told Newsweek.
Although there are medications to treat some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, there is no cure, and scientists still aren’t exactly sure what causes the neurodegenerative disease.