Diet sodas are not the lesser evil, they are as evil as regular soda, and some argue they are worse.
Linking low- or Zero-calorie soft drinks to specific illnesses is tricky, and researchers are cautious to call them flat-out dangerous or point to cause and effect.
It is not always clear if the problem is the drink itself or if it is the result of other factors, such as obesity.
Though the cause of the problem many not be definitive, no health experts will recommend drinking diet soda instead of water, coffee, tea or pure juice.
Soft drinks offer little to no nutritional value.
The ingredients in diet soft drinks that may actually harm you are the artificial sweeteners. The brain does not differentiate between real and fake sugar, as it is all sweet, and this is the problem.
Sweet cravings, and increased appetite for calorie-rich food, ensue.
Despite the potential serious health effects, diet soda remains a very popular drink.
Although sales have decreased some, around 1 in 5 Americans report drinking the sugary beverage on a regular basis. And consumption increases with age and income. Senior citizens who have an income of $75,000 or more a year are the most likely to drink diet colas.
There are good reasons why not to drink soda in any form.
The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Associations, which examine the health effects of artificially sweetened beverages.
Here are a few:
Cancer: Studies are not conclusive when it comes to identifying Aspartame as a carcinogen. Research has found that the sweetener can cause several cancers in both male and female rats, but only male mice. In Y 2016, the Center for Science in the Public Interest downgraded sucralose (known as Splenda), which is used in some diet sodas, from “caution” to “avoid,” because it was found to cause leukemia and other blood cancers in male mice.
Diabetes and Blindness: Consumption of diet soda has been linked to a 67% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which nearly 10% of Americans have. Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in Y 2015. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda may lead to insulin spikes, which worsen insulin sensitivity over time. They can also increase appetite, encouraging a sweet tooth.
A study of more than 600 people, published last year in the Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology journal, found that diabetics who consumed more than 4 cans of diet soda a week were 2X as likely to have vision problems, including blindness.
Obesity: Artificial sweeteners may cause increased consumption of high calorie foods as they simply make one crave fatty foods leading to glucose intolerance and weight gain. Artificial sweeteners may not be natural, but they are sweet, and as such they encourage sugar cravings and sugar dependence.
A Y 2015 study by the American Geriatrics Society of nearly 800 people over the age of 65 found that diet soda intake was related to increasing abdominal obesity. Separate research that followed people for over eight years found that those who drank artificially sweetened beverages were more likely to report increased BMIs.
According to a Gallup survey, 32% of overweight Americans say they drink diet soda, compared to 19% of those with normal weight.
Dementia: A 2017 study of almost 3,000 people over 60 found that diet sodas sweetened with artificial ingredients lead to a higher risk of dementia. People who drank at least 1 diet beverage a day were almost 3X more likely to develop dementia. The results were the same after accounting for gender, general diet, smoking, and level of physical activity.
Stroke: The same study of nearly 3,000 people found that daily consumption of diet beverages was associated with increased risk of stroke and dementia over a 10-year frame. Older studies have also shown a connection between low-calorie sodas and a significantly higher risk of stroke.
Researchers are not sure how exactly artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of stroke, but this is not a reason to keep them in your diet. Researchers following 127,000 people for 20 years concluded that those who consumed more than 1 soda per day had a higher risk of stroke, regardless of whether the soda contained sugar or was artificially sweetened.
I never drink soft drinks of any kind, period!
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively