Soft drinks have been in every nutritionist's crosshairs for a long time. Having been linked to pretty much every wellness woe, from obesity to premature wrinkles and diabetes, the government is even adding a tax on fizzy drinks to help us fix our national sweet tooth.
But here's where the news gets worse: A new study has shown that the low- and no-sugar alternatives carry a host of health risks themselves, making scientists wonder if artificial sweeteners are just as troublesome as sugar.
And aside from the existing health concerns, the study points to newer issues: strokes and dementia, to be exact. In fact, the study found that you're 2.69 times more likely to suffer a stroke and 2.89 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's if you have an artificially sweetened drink every day.
Published in The American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, the study stated that simply switching from a normal fizzy drink to the sugar-free option might not do your health any favours.
The authors noted, "After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), calorific intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease dementia."
Sales of full-sugar drinks have been steadily dropping over the last few years while low-sugar alternatives gain popularity, but these findings might cause another shakeup.
If you can't quit the fizz (and we don't blame you, there's little more refreshing than a glass of something bubbly), check out these healthy drink recipes that are sparkling and delicious.Tiny Prints/Pinterest
Blackberry and Mint Sparkling Water
This delicious and moreish drink would make a perfect non-alcoholic aperitif-or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Head over to Tiny PrintsВ for the recipe.EatLoveEat/Pinterest
Passionfruit and Elderflower Fizz
A refreshing fizzyВ drink, this can be bulk-made and then sipped throughout the day.В Eat Love EatsВ has the recipe in full.Jamie Oliver/Pinterest
Pomegranate, Lime and Ginger Sparkling Water
Try this tasty summery drink from the king of quick and easy food. It's a doddle to make and deliciously light. Check out Jamie Oliver's recipe here.
Next up: a dietitian would have you ditch these nine foods for a flat stomach.