Contrary to popular belief, diet soda doesn’t promote weight loss! As a matter of fact, a Purdue researcher advises people to stay away from diet soda just like they would do with regular soda. According to Susan Swithers, PhD, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue, expanding warnings may help limit the intake of all sweeteners, without an exception of no-calorie sweeteners.
With the aim of answering the question “Is diet soda bad for you”, Swithers reviewed many studies. She found that nearly 30% of American adults and 15% of American children consume artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose.
“There is a lot 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 says in order to help them make the best health decisions.” — Susan Swithers
Artificial sweeteners confuse body`s ability to manage calories based on eating sweet, meaning that people often overeat them even by drinking diet soda. Those who ingest artificial sweeteners are two times as likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
Is Diet Soda Bad for You?
Mounting evidence suggests that diet soda leads to multiple health issues. Among them are:
Drinking more than 4 cans of soda daily is associated with a 30% higher risk of depression. On the other hand, drinking 4 cups of coffee daily offers protective effects, lowering depression risk 10%. The risk appeared to be higher for those who drank diet soda when compared to those drinking regular soda.
2. Kidney Damage
According to Harvard researchers, long-term diet soda drinking is linked to a 30% greater reduction in kidney function. This study involved individuals who consumed diet soda on a regular basis over the course of 20 years.
3. Type 2 Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome
As reported by a 2009 study published in the journal Diabetes Car, drinking diet soda on a daily basis is associated with a 36% higher risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67% higher risk of type 2 diabetes when compared to those who aren’t drinking diet soda.
As a matter of fact, artificial sweeteners may interfere with the gut-brain connection, which in turn leads to metabolic derangements. Researchers at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that diet soda changes gut microbes in a way that increases the risk of metabolic disease. Mice given zero-calorie sweeteners found in these drinks developed glucose intolerance.
4. Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers at University of Miami and Colombia University followed over 2,000 adults for ten years and found that diet-soda drinkers had higher chances of getting stroke or heart attack and were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. The risk remained the same even when high cholesterol, exercise, smoking, weight, and sodium intake were adjusted.
5. Compromised Lungs
Drinking soda increases the risk of developing COPD and asthma symptoms. As a matter of fact, the more soda a person drinks, the higher the risk.
According to an Australian study, 1.3% of the participants with asthma and 15.6% of those with COPD consumed more than 2 cups of soda daily.
6. A Less Protected Brain
Aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners in diet sodas, removes brain`s antioxidant defense system, leading to imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain.
In addition to these, aspartame is also linked to the following issues:
- Migraines & headaches
- Short term memory loss
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hearing loss
- Weight gain
- Brain tumors
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Birth defects
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Arthritis (including rheumatoid)
- Chemical sensitivities