Many people drink diet soda with the belief that it’s a healthier alternative to regular soda, but research proves otherwise. In fact, diet soda may be one of the most dangerous drinks on the market and can have detrimental effects on your body.
Susan E. Swithers, Ph.D., a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue, warns that we should limit intake of all artificial sweeteners, including no-calorie sweeteners, found in diet soda.
Swithers reviewed recent studies which examined the effects of diet soda and found that 30 percent of American adults and 15 percent of American children consume artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin. She says that there is a great deal of pressure from the public health sector to find solutions to counter the rise of obesity and chronic disease, and there is a lot of money and business at stake for the food industry as it develops and promotes these products.
“Beverages are becoming political issues as government leaders and politicians seek regulation and taxing to limit their availability and consumption, but most of these measures exclude diet soft drinks because they are perceived as healthy. When it comes to making policy decisions, it’s more important than ever that the science is considered and that the public understands what the science is telling us in order to help them make the best health decisions,” said Swithers.
It has been said that artificial sweeteners disrupt the body’s natural ability to manage calories based on taste, often times leading to over-consumption of sweet foods, and doubling the risk for developing metabolic syndrome.
Research has found that diet soda can lead to numerous health issues, including:
- Type 2 Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: According to a 2009 study published by the journal, Diabetes Care, those who consume diet soda have a 36 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome, and a 67 percent raised risk of type 2 diabetes. Artificial sweeteners interfere with communication between the stomach-brain, leading to metabolic derangement.
- Depression: Consuming 4+ cans of diet soda daily results in 30 percent higher risk of depression, while drinking 4 cups of coffee provides protective effects and reduces the risk of depression by 10 percent.
- Compromised Lungs: An Australian study found that 13.3 percent of participants had asthma, and 15.6 percent of those with COPD reported consuming two or more sodas a day.
- Kidney Damage: Experts at Harvard followed a group of soda drinkers for 20 years and found that the participants experienced 30 percent greater reduction in kidney function than their non-soda drinking counterparts.
- Cardiovascular Disease: In a study performed by Columbia University and the University of Miami, 2,000 adult participants were monitored for 10 years. The results indicated that those who consumed soda were more likely to experience a stroke, heart attack, or death as a result of heart disease than their non-soda drinking counterparts.
- A Less Protected Brain: Aspartame, a common artificial sweetener in these drinks, has been found to damage the brain’s antioxidant defense system, causing an imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant system with regular / long term use.
Research shows that this sweetener can also be a catalyst for:
- Brain tumors
- Migraines & headaches
- Chemical sensitivities
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Weight gain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Hearing loss
- Short term memory loss
- Multiple sclerosis
- Birth defects
Given the aforementioned, we hope you reconsider next time you go to crack open a diet soda, and suggest sparkling waters or health infused drinks such as kombucha as an alternative.