Drinking too much of these beverages may be impacting your cognitive health for the worse.
Your brain will age naturally alongside the rest of your body as time passes. This is a natural process. On the other hand, the rate at which your brain ages can also be affected by factors such as your diet and lifestyle. There are behaviours that have been linked to a slowed down rate of brain ageing, while others have been linked to a sped up rate.
You shouldn’t deprive yourself all the time, but when you routinely make poor choices, things can get dicey. Moderation is the key to success when it comes to most dietary and lifestyle decisions. Therefore, indulging in sugary foods or beverages every once in a while will not hasten the ageing process of your brain; however, consuming large amounts of added sugar on a consistent basis may be associated with an increased risk of developing conditions that affect your brain and cognitive function (not to mention a whole host of other health issues).
Soda can age your brain.
According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2017 and published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, soda was found to be associated with accelerated brain ageing. The study also found that participants who drank at least one soda every day had higher instances of a decrease in brain volume.
The participants’ “episodic” memories, or their ability to recall more recent events from their longer-term memories, were also impaired when they consumed soda on a consistent basis.
The hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that is responsible for a significant portion of our memory and learning functions, was smaller in volume in many of the participants in this study. This study suggests that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may hasten the natural process by which our hippocampal volume naturally decreases with age. However, this process occurs naturally as we age.
Diet soda can age your brain too.
After reading about the possible effects that drinking soda has on the ageing process of the brain, your initial reaction may be to assume that diet soda is a better option. This is because diet soda does not contain any sugar. Sadly, research has also found a connection between diet soda and the health of the brain.
According to the findings of a study that was published in the journal Stroke, participants who consumed one diet soda per day had an almost three times increased risk of developing dementia or a stroke. These findings are unexpected, and further investigation is required, particularly in light of the fact that the researchers noted in their study that they were unable to take into account certain conditions, such as diabetes, that the participants in the study may have developed during the course of the study. Nevertheless, this is sufficient evidence to prompt you to question whether or not you really require a diet soda on a daily basis.
Alcohol may impact your brain—even in moderation.
Drinking to excess, also known as binge drinking, is something that almost everyone acknowledges can hasten the ageing process of the brain. But the question of whether or not drinking alcohol in moderation can also have an effect on your cognitive functioning is one that is still being discussed.
The research that is being done now is inconsistent. Drinking a glass of red wine on a regular basis is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in people who live in areas that are collectively referred to as the Blue Zones. These areas are also home to some of the oldest people in the world.
But new research from 2022 suggests that even having one or two alcoholic beverages on a daily basis may have a negative effect on your brain. A study that was published in Nature found that drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol causes a reduction in both white and grey matter in the brain. White and grey matter are components of the brain that are responsible for different cognitive functions.
The amount of research that has been done on soda, diet soda, and alcohol in relation to the natural process of the brain’s ageing can be overwhelming, and in some instances, the results have not been conclusive. Living in a constant state of self-deprivation is not only impractical but also unhealthy. The rate at which your brain ages is not dependent on any one thing, and it is unhealthy to live in such a state. However, it is always a good idea to educate yourself with the most up-to-date information, and if you want to ease your mind, talking to your doctor about the most effective ways to care for your brain health as you age is the best way to do so.