Diet soda is the calorie-free alternative to the sugar-laden regular soda.
Including the word ‘diet’ in the name though, might be a bit of a misnomer.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether diet soda contributes to weight-related maladies, such as obesity, vascular problems, and diabetes.
Is Diet Soda Bad for You?
Recent medical studies have affirmed the link between diet sodas and health issues, but the data still remains in question. The diet soda companies aren’t going to go down without a fight after all.
Calorie-conscious consumers of diet soda are led to believe they are making a healthier choice, but is there really such a thing as healthy soda?
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We strongly think the answer to this question is most definitely; no.
Since diet sodas don’t contain calories, many people drink them liberally in hope of losing weight. A study by the University of Texas Health Center in San Antonio claims diet soda actually made frequent consumers actually gain weight, not lose weight.
The study, like other similar studies done on diet soda, is specific to the parallel of diet soda and increased obesity. However, it cannot be said whether diet soda is the primary factor in the increase in waistline, among other health issues reported by diet soda drinkers.
Some experts believe that those who turn to diet sodas are likely at risk to health problems in the first place. Also, there is a notion that some of these at-risk individuals substitute diet sodas in a high-calorie, high-fat diet in an attempt to lose weight.
For example, a person will go into a fast food restaurant, order an over-sized meal full of fat and calories and wash it down with a giant diet soda.
Researchers also believe that diet soda drinkers are more prone to a sedentary lifestyle and use diet soda as a ‘shortcut’ to weight loss while eschewing exercise.
Simply having ‘diet’ in the name might make them feel as if they’re making a healthy choice.
Diet Soda and Diabetes
Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners. The debate continues as to whether these artificial sweeteners increase the risk of diabetes.
The UT Health Center San Antonio study found a link between diet soda and diabetes.
Also, a Dartmouth Medical School study concluded the same, in 2006. According to the Dartmouth research, diet soda increased blood glucose levels.
One diet soda a day increased A1C levels in the blood by 0.7 units. So for those with diabetes, or who have a family history of diabetes, diet soda might not be the best choice in an attempt to lose weight.
Other Diet Soda Risks
The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas, such as aspartame and saccharin, have been linked to cancers in laboratory mice.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute’s fact sheet on artificial sweeteners, the amount of aspartame which induced a higher incidence of cancers in lab animals was astronomical (the equivalent of drinking 8-2,083 cans of diet soda daily).
It still remains unclear if diet sodas are bad for you. Some research has stated that diet soda makes you fat.
Other research claims a link between diet sodas and diabetes. So, are diet drinks bad for you? As far as a calorie-free alternative to regular soda, perhaps not.
But if one is concerned about health and well-being, there are better beverage choices available.
Green tea and black coffee supply the caffeine fix of diet soda, but contain no artificial chemicals or sweeteners (unless added by the individual user). When used in moderation, they may also actually possess health benefits. Diet soda, on the other hand, has no health benefit.
Diet soda is loaded with artificial colors and sweeteners. In other words, it’s loaded with chemicals.
These chemicals may or may not contribute to health problems, but why risk it?
If you are truly trying to live a healthier lifestyle while cutting calories to lose weight, why not choose a natural beverage, like pure fruit juice or water?
If it’s caffeine you’re craving, enjoy coffee or tea instead. Don’t assume, just because the name of the soda contains ‘diet’, that it’s healthy.