I don’t drink a lot of carbonated beverages because of the chemicals and sugar. The taste of diet versions seems all wrong and have even more chemicals to artificially sweeten it.
A friend of mine is diabetic and trying to control her weight because of heart disease. She always seems to have a diet soda in her hand and confessed that she drinks at least three 20-ounce bottles every day.
I’ve tried (and failed) to convince her to give them up. She told me she needs it. The common argument I hear in regards to the effects of diet soda on her health is, “At least they’re better than regular sodas!”
Not so fast.
Clearly, they’re just as addictive as their full-sugar counterparts but new research from several studies points to additional problems that are counter to everything drinkers of these products thought they were getting by choosing “diet” on the label.
Effects of Diet Soda on Diabetes Risk
One study conducted by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute featured more than 2,800 participants and looked at both sugary and no-sugar sodas.
They discovered that drinking 400ml (1½ cups) of any soda every day more than doubled their diabetes risk! The average canned soda is 12-ounces (1½ cups) and bottled sodas are 20-ounces (2½ cups) but it gets worse!Drinking 400ml of any soda every day more than doubles your diabetes risk! #SayNOtoSodaClick To Tweet
The same study found that people who drank 1 liter (4½ cups) of diet soda daily had a 10-times higher diabetes risk. Consider my friend (who already has type 2 diabetes) who drinks three 20-ounce bottles per day. That’s 7½ cups every day, year after year.
Her story isn’t an uncommon one among diabetics.
After all, one of the hardest things to give up when you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes is sweets. Sodas use artificial sweeteners that taste hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. It’s easy to start buying sugar-free everything that gives you the “sweetness” you miss.
Unfortunately, the study (published in the European Journal of Endocrinology) can ramp up your appetite, damage your gut microbiome, and distort glucose metabolism.
Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, the lead author, explained, “We were surprised by the increased risk in developing autoimmune diabetes by drinking soft drinks. We next plan on investigating what could counter this risk.”
The debate over the effects of diet soda is one that has raged for decades. Tam Fry with the National Obesity Forum stated, “This is yet another warning that sweetened drinks, though appearing harmless on the surface, can mess things up inside you.”
Effects of Diet Soda on Weight Loss
Another primary reason people may switch to diet sodas is to mimic the full-sugar version without the caloric intake. Diet drinks (and foods) are popular among those trying to lose weight but the data doesn’t add up.
Researchers with the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging determined that participants who drank diet sodas gained almost triple the weight and abdominal inches as those who didn’t consume fizzy drinks. Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
University of Texas professor and lead author of the study, Dr. Helen Hazuda, explained, “Regular sugar has caloric consequences. Your body is used to knowing that a sweet taste means you are ingesting energy in the form of calories that, if you don’t burn them off, is going to convert to fat.”
In other words, artificial sweeteners confuse your body!
A joint study between the University of Sydney and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research examined the diet soda-weight gain puzzle.
Associate professor, Greg Neely, stated, “After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, animals began eating a lot more. Inside the brain’s reward centres, sweet sensation is integrated with energy content. When sweetness versus energy is out of balance for a period of time, the brain recalibrates and increases total calories consumed.”
Still not convinced about the dangerous effects of diet soda? Here are 10 more reasons to kick the soda habit!
- The chemicals in fizzy drinks are horrible for your teeth.
- They may increase your risk of depression by as much as 30%.
- Sodas (regular or diet) offer zero nutritional value.
- They can “steal” the nutrients you have from other foods.
- Artificial sweeteners and excess sugar have been linked to migraines.
- Diet drinks ramp up inebriation when mixed with alcohol.
- They raise your risk of osteoporosis.
- They increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- They damage your ability to taste foods.
- Diet drinks force your kidneys to work a lot harder.
Like my friend, perhaps you won’t drink plain water. Maybe you’ll be open to infused water or green tea or pretty much anything besides fizzy sodas or energy drinks (built on the same framework). Whatever it takes to kick the habit and banish the negative effects of diet soda from your body…there’s (literally) no time to waste!