It’s a big, longtime question: Are the side effects that come with artificial sweetners in diet sodas worth saving the calories?

A new study published in Stroke looked at 2,888 people in Framingham, Mass.,, who were are part of a study that originally began in 1971. It compared dietary intake and incidents of stroke and dementia and found those who drank diet drinks were almost three times at higher risk for stroke or dementia compared with those who drank less than one a week.

The Framingham Heart Study, also noted that those who drank diet drinks also consumed more calories. Past research has shown that the sweetners trick the brain into believing it’s getting something sweet and then it wants more sweet things.

Is this diet soda killing you?  American Statesman file.

“While we have some research that suggests the negative toll diet beverages can have on our health, this high-quality observational study points to a strong correlation found between artificially sweetened beverages and an increased risk of stroke and dementia,” said Dr. Jefferson T. Miley of Seton Brain & Spine Institute in a press release.

“It’s important to be thoughtful about what you are eating and drinking, considering both potential benefits and possible health risks,” Miley said. The study was not designed to prove cause and effect, but the findings are still worth taking note, he said.

Drinking soda with real sugar isn’t the answer either. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily added sugars to no more than nine teaspoons for men or six teaspoons for women.

Instead doctors recommend you drink unsweetened tea, water or fruit-infused water or low-fat milk.