Many people believe that diet soda can help them lose weight and that it is somehow safer than other sodas.
The truth is, however, quite different and diet soda is actually detrimental for your health. One researcher from Purdue believes that people should be warned not to consume it by public health officials and they should avoid diet soda just the same as they should keep away from the regular soda.
Susan Swithers is a professor of psychological sciences and behavioral neuroscientist who maintains that we should limit consumption of any and all sweeteners including the no-calorie ones.
She reviewed some recent studies examining the effects of diet soda. The results were that 15% of children and about 30% of adults consume artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose and she says that there is huge pressure to counter the rise of obesity and chronic diseases from the public health sector, while there are also money and businesses at stake for the food industry.
The availability and consumption of beverages is becoming a political issue and government leaders and politicians are seeking regulation and taxing measures, although diet sodas are perceived as healthy and excluded from measures to limit availability.
Before making any policy decisions, it is now more important than ever to take the scientific approach and for the public to understand scientific findings so they can make the best health choices.
It appears that artificial sweeteners confuse the body’s ability to manage calories. People consume something that tastes sweet and they consume such foods excessively, resulting in a risk of metabolic syndrome that is twice as high.
Research has linked consumption of diet soda with numerous health issues, including:
Compromised Lung function
Diet soda drinks increase the risk of asthma and COPD symptoms. One Australian study found that 13.3 % of the participants with asthma that they surveyed consumed more than two cups of soda every day, as did 15.6 % of those with COPD.
Harvard experts studied people who had been consuming soda drinks for longer than 2o years and found that there was a 30% reduction in the kidney function of those who drank soda long-term.
Columbia University and the University of Miami conducted a study following more than 2,0000 adults for 10 years and found a higher risk of heart attack and stroke among those who were consuming these drinks, as well as a higher risk of death from heart diseases.
Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The journal Diabetes Care published the results of a 2009 study, showing that consuming diet soda can be linked to a 36% increased risk of metabolic syndrome and 67% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Artificial sweeteners interfere with the body’s gut-brain connection and can lead to metabolism derangements. A team of Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science discovered that diet sodas change the gut microbes and raise the risk of metabolic disorders and diseases.
When they fed laboratory mice with zero-calorie sweeteners like those found in diet drinks, aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, the mice developed glucose intolerance.
Consuming more than 4 cans of soda daily is linked to a 30% higher risk of depression, whereas 4 cups of coffee a day can provide protective effects and reduce by 10% the risk of depression.
A Less Protected Brain
The artificial sweetener, Aspartame, is common in these drinks and it has been found to have a damaging effect on the antioxidant defense system of the brain. Consuming it long-term results in an imbalance in the brain’s anti/pro oxidant status, mostly through the mechanism that contains the glutathione-dependent system.
Studies have also shown links between this sweetener and:
- brain tumors
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- headaches and migraines
- Chemical sensitivities
- Weight gain
- Loss of hearing
- Multiple sclerosis
- Birth defects
- Short term memory loss
It is quite obvious that you should be extremely careful with your consumption of diet sodas, as they are actually far from being a healthier option to the regular, sugar-sweetened sodas. Diet sodas may lead to weight loss but at the cost of various adverse health issues, including increased risks of obesity, metabolic damage and heart diseases.
So, if you really care about your health and can’t do without fizzy drinks, a much healthier option is kombucha!