Diet sodas are popular among people all over the world seeking an alternative to high calorie soft drinks. However, the question is that, is diet soda really healthy or putting your health at risk?
Well, a recent study of JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between drinking too much diet soda and premature demise.
As per National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009‒2010) – about one fifth of the US population consumed diet drinks every day without knowing the risks of guzzling zero calorie drinks.
So, in this article we will discuss possible side effects of diet sodas and reasons to ditch artificially sweetened soft drinks.
What is Diet Soda?
Diet soda comes with little or no sugar and this is what makes it a better choice over traditional sodas.
Instead of sugar, manufacturers use artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-k, sucralose or sometimes natural sweetener like stevia to mimic the taste of conventional soda drinks.
In 1950s, diet sodas were first introduced to people with diabetes, though later were promoted to people trying to shed some extra pounds and want to reduce sugar intake.
Despite being low calorie and sugar free, the health effects of diet drinks with artificial sweeteners are always controversial and a subject of thorough research.
Why People Drink Diet Soda?
Well, almost all beverage brands have a “diet” or “light” version such as; Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, Sprite Zero, etc.
Consequently, manufacturers are marketing these drinks as the best alternative to regular sodas that contain 140+ calories.
These drinks were promoted as best soft drink option for those looking to lose weight or their sugar intake.
Some people are drinking diet soda to satisfy their quench for bubbly drink without gulping hundreds of calories and hefty dose of sugar.
Besides it, there are some foodie people consuming diet sodas so that they can enjoy as much food as they can in a day. Because diet soda helps them to save 140 and more calories which they can replace with their favorite food.
Is Diet Soda Bad for You (Major Side Effects)
The research over diet sodas and their health effects has been around since 1970s. And most of studies found a link between drinking too much diet soda and premature death, weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Hence, such studies raise a question that –
Do we really need to drink diet soda or give up?
Well the answer is, if you are gulping more than two cans of diet soda a day then you are more likely to get its side effects.
Let’s discuss possible health risks of drinking too much diet soda…
1) Heart Diseases
As per one study, women aged over 50 who drink diet drinks twice a day are 29% more likely to get heart diseases in compare to those women who drink zero calorie drinks once in a week.
However, the correlation between diet soda and cardiovascular diseases is still a matter of research. But, if you are obese, smoke a lot, drinking too much alcohol, or suffering from diabetes, then having too much diet soda per day can cause catastrophic effects to your heart.
2) Make You Gain Weight
The research is uncertain….. well even the Allison Sylvetsky Meni (assistant professor) and the Vasanti Malik (a research scientist) agree that still more research needed to link diet sodas with increased waistline.
However, there are several scientific reasons that make you believe that diet soda actually triggers weight gain. Such as…
- As artificial sweeteners are 200 times sweeter than regular sugar and thus it may make you habituated or may raise your thirst for sugar.
- Zero calorie of diet soda can make your body crave for missing calories which lead to overeating and result into weight gain.
Although, diet drinks are good if chosen to replace high calorie drinks.
But still experts think that fake stuff is not good for health in the long run.
3) Brain Related Diseases
Habit of drinking too much soft drinks with sugar substitutes is actually not good for your memory. According to one study published in the Journal Stroke, found that drinking diet soda can put your brain at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
4) Affect Liver Negatively
You are still likely to get fatty liver diseases even if you are not drinking too much alcohol consumption. Yes, you heard it right.
If you are consuming too much diet soda, then you are damaging your liver unknowingly.
Several studies have concluded that gulping soft drinks including zero calorie beverages leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by making your body unable to use insulin properly.
So, it would be a better idea to ditch drinks flavored with artificial sweeteners.
5) Cause Osteoporosis
Well experts are iffy…but still some scientific research found carbonated beverages as main culprit in lower bone density.
According to some theories, sodas are known to negatively affect body’s calcium level either by increasing calcium excretion or by decreasing calcium absorption in the intestine.
In one research conducted at Tufts University in Boston, researchers found 4% lower bone density in women who drank 3 to 4 cans of soft drinks per day than those who did not.
Though, there is no evidence available claiming that diet pop actually seeps calcium out of the body. However, those who like to have carbonated drinks frequently should intake proper calcium from other sources.
6) Tooth Decay
As per the Colgate, sugary drinks are an obvious reason for tooth decay but very few know that non-sugar drinks can also cause cavities.
Dental erosion is one of the causes of teeth cavities which mainly occur when your teeth are exposed to acid.
Diet sodas contain acids like Phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid which are very bad for your teeth.
So, it is better to check the list of ingredients available on the drink bottle and choose only teeth friendly drinks.
7) Can Trigger Depression
Drinking diet soda doesn’t make you destined for depression. Instead it is worth considering when you will make your beverage choices.
In one research of American Academy of Neurology, elders aged from 50 to 71 who drink diet soda found more susceptible to depression.
Diet soda is one of the causes of type 2 diabetes and diabetes is the one cause of depression.
So, if you are diabetic then you should avoid sugary and non-sugary drinks to keep depression at bay.
In brief, these are some of the major side effects of diet soda that provide you enough reasons to ditch drinks sweetened with sugar substitutes.
If you are consuming too much diet soda, then you should reduce the consumption right now.