People who drink diet sodas daily have three times the risk of stroke and dementia compared to people who drink one less than once a week, researchers reported Thursday.
It's yet another piece of evidence that diet drinks are not a healthy alternative to sugary drinks, and suggests that people need to limit both, doctors said.
While the findings do not prove that diet drinks damage brains, they support other studies that show people who drink them frequently tend to have poorer health.
The researchers, led by Matthew Pase of the Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues, studied more than 4,000 people for their report, published in the journal Stroke.
"We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not consume diet soda," Pase told NBC News.
To their surprise, the team did not find the same risk for sugar-sweetened beverages. But sugary beverages are connected to myriad other health issues due to its connection to obesity.
So what can people drink?
Water is always a good option, doctors agree. And of course, there's coffee. Studies show that people who drink regular, moderate amounts of coffee are less likely to die from a range of diseases, from diabetes to heart disease.