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February 10, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Do you know what is the most understood term in the
world? The answer is "okay". But do you know what is the
second most understood term in the world? The answer is
"Coke".  Coca-cola reports that its brand is the indeed the
second most understood term among the entire human
population. And who could argue with them. Coca-cola is
sold in over 200 countries, making up 94% of the land of
the world.

Coke is the second most consumed beverage in Mexico and
other countries
, just behind water. Coke has for many
years been at the top of the world's most recognized

But while Coca-cola, Pepsi Cola, and all the rest of the
fuzzy drinks have brought billions of profits to their
shareholders, all that success has come at a steep price for
the rest of us.

New research has connected consumption of carbonated
drinks to the risk for stroke.  

Drinking Carbonated Sodas Shrinks Your Brain and
Increases Stroke Risk by 300%

Each year, 795,000 people in the US suffer a stroke.
Strokes are the leading cause of permanent disability in the
US, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Of the 795000 people who suffer a stroke, 140,000 of
them die each year.

To put that in perspective, the 1.4 million people who die
each decade from stroke equal the size of the population of
Phoenix, Arizona. That is like saying the population of
Philadelphia or Phoenix disappears each decade.

Lowering the stroke risk is clearly something that should be
everyone's priority.

In April of 2017, scientists from Boston University
published an alarming study journal
Alzheimer's &
as well as the journal Stroke.

Taking data from the Framingham Heart Study, the
scientists found that drinking sugar drinks shrinks the
hippocampal area of your brain, the area responsible for
memory. Drinking sodas --- and to be fair any sugar drinks
such as fruits juices --- damage your ability to remember
and shrink your overall brain volume.

The study, entitled "Daily consumption of sodas, fruit juices
and artificially sweetened sodas affect brain ", examined
4,000 participants with  Magnetic Resonance Imaging for
evidence of the relationship between soda consumption
and  brain shrinkage and memory.  Within this group,
2,888 were also followed to detect evidence of stroke and
1484 were monitored for evidence of dementia.

People Who Drink 3 Sodas a Day Have a 300% Higher Risk
for Stroke

In the most alarming finding, the scientists reported that
those who drink 3 sodas or more a day have a 300%
higher risk of stroke.

Here is what that means. Most soda drinkers do not limit
themselves to one drink a day, anymore than people who
eat potato chips do not tend to stop after just a one chip.

No one is sitting there counting the number of sodas they
drink, especially if they consume diet sodas. Most people
who drink diet sodas have a belief, a faith almost, that
because these drinks have no calories, that they are as
harmless as water.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As the Boston
University study found, diet sodas are not equivalent to

What Is It About Sodas That Makes Them So Damaging to
Our Brains?

On the left, we have a glass of clear, clean water. On the
right, we have a glass of soda. What's the difference?

Clearly, soda is sugary, which we have seen is the primary
reason it shrinks your brain and impairs your memory. But
soda also is carbonated. How does carbonation affect your

The good news is that there is no research linking
carbonated water to brain damage or damage to any other
body organ in fact. Moreover, despite what you may have
read, drinking carbonated water does not leech calcium
from your bones, erode tooth enamel or neutralize stomach

Adding food coloring to the clear water, however, does
appear to change its effects. Orange, red or other colored
carbonated drinks are more acidic than the plain water.
These colored drinks can therefore increase damage to
tooth enamel.

Bottom line --  it's never a good idea to drink any
carbonated soda at all. If you have to have an occasional
fizzy treat, opt for carbonated water.

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All sugar drinks raise stroke risk.