Beware of Diet Soda.
People drink diet soda assuming they are doing something good for themselves. There are no calories so how could it be a bad thing to drink? Unfortunately, many studies now show that drinking diet soda is physically damaging and creates a great risk for weight gain, diabetes and increased susceptibility to heart attacks and stroke.
Diet sodas stimulate the appetite and actually cause weight gain.
No expert has yet figured out why, but it is documented that regular drinkers of diet soda gain more weight than those who drink regular soda. One theory is that the artificial sweeteners signal the brain that sugar is coming and when there is no sugar, the appetite is stimulated to find some. It is documented that even artificial sweets are addicting and the more sweets people consume the more they want.
Purdue University studied rats and the consumption of artificial sweeteners versus sugar. The rats that ate the artificial sweeteners gained more weight than those who consumed sugar.
A study conducted by the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio showed that those who consumed two diet drinks daily over the course of the study had “500 % greater waist line growth” than those who drank regular soda.
Although the studies don’t prove that drinking diet soda is the sole cause of the weight gain, there is a definite correlation and more studies are being done.
Two Diet Sodas Daily Increase the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association, Scientific Sessions, has released information connecting diet soda to the development of Type 2 diabetes. One reason is due to the increased weight gain as already discussed. Also, it found that diet soda drinkers were more likely to develop metabolic disorders in general than regular soda drinkers.
In another study of 474 “older adults,” it was discovered that those who drank two diet sodas daily had a 67 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who drank regular soda.
Studies of mice show that those that were given diet soda over a period of time had higher fasting glucose levels than the non-diet drinking mice.
Diet Soda Drinkers Are at a Greater Risk for Stroke or Heart Disease.
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in January 2012 showed a higher incidence of stroke and heart disease in those who daily drank diet sodas when compared with those who did not.
The study followed 2,564 New York City residents over a 10 year period of time. Those who drank diet soda daily had a “61 percent higher chance of heart attack or stroke.” The study did not take into account other behaviors of the diet soda drinkers that might have contributed to the increased risk.
It is true that the studies so far are not definitive and studies are on-going. But with this knowledge, as Dr. Tudor Jovin, director of the Stroke Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said, “People with a lot of risk factors for vascular disease might want to reduce the amount of diet soda they consume.” Jovin listed “High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, a family history of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and a history of cardiovascular events” as risk factors.
Drinking Diet Soda is Simply Too Risky.
In addition to the problems discussed, other studies have linked the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda to headaches, forgetfulness, depression, seizures and other disorders. Considering all the risks involved, drinking diet soda may just be too big of a risk to take.
Linda Craven is a public health administrator and guest author at MPH Online.