It’s time for me to kick Diet Coke and other sodas to the curb. Here are eight snippets of information I found during my research that may help you also think twice about heading to the soda fountain.

Diet Soda Health Risks

Two glasses of diet soda with ice on a blue wooden table.

1. Weight gain

Some say that diet soda can actually make you fat, because it makes you crave sugar.

The other thought is that diet soda is consumed by people trying to cut weight or have questionable eating habits. They might be more likely to pair a Diet Coke as a calorie saver along with a Big Mac and large fries.

2. Artificial sweeteners trick the brain

Maybe this is why pizza and soda pair so well together.

Diet sodas like Diet Coke may inhibit the brain cells that make you feel full. When our taste buds sense sweetness, even from artificial sugar, the body expects something hearty and caloric to be consumed simultaneously.

If that calorie injection doesn’t happen, we might overeat because our body is expecting us to.

3. A higher risk of stroke or heart attack

A study following 2500 New Yorkers for nine or more years showed a 61% higher risk of vascular events in people who drank diet soda daily.

It’s thought that the caramel coloring might be to blame. These results were presented by researchers at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

4. Diet sodas may cause kidney damage

Study participants who drank two or more diet sodas per day had 30% less kidney blood filtering ability than those who drank regular sodas or other drinks.

5. Risk of tooth enamel damage

Girl drinks soda from a straw.
A straw may help.

This post was actually inspired by a conversation about tooth decay in the comment section of my post about drinking warm lemon water in the morning.

Soda is hard on tooth enamel. Regular soda has both sugar and acid, while diet soda has acid that can damage teeth.

Check your soda to see if it either has phosphoric acid or citric acid. The latter is present in non-cola drinks and is far more damaging.

My former dentist in La Jolla, Dr. Chris Wood, told me that when you drink soda from a can, you to hold soda in your mouth for a little bit longer prior to swallowing.

A straw may help keep the acid away from your teeth, if you must drink it. There are some links to glass straw makers in the lemon water post (link above) comment section.

6. Diet sodas like Diet Coke may lead to bone loss

Phosphoric acid also causes calcium to be excreted from your body at a pace that is more rapid than normal. As a result, your bones have to donate calcium from the body to keep up with demand.

In addition, if you’re drinking diet soda in lieu of calcium-rich beverages and snacks, you’re also depriving your body of much-needed calcium. Many people do this to cut calories as part of a weight loss program.

7. Possible Aspartame risks

Skip the soda fountain and opt for water.

The FDA says that aspartame is safe in doses of 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Basically, for a 165 lb. adult, that’s approximately 21 diet sodas.

There was a study showing an increase of cancer in rats given a high dose of aspartame. I read this was in the neighborhood of 8 to over 2000 cans of diet soda per day, which is obviously excessive but worth considering.

FAQs About Drinking Diet Sodas

Does diet soda dehydrate you?

Yes, drinking diet soda can mildly dehydrate you if it contains caffeine. Caffeine is a mild diuretic that increases the body’s urine production. So, the way to avoid any risk of dehydration due to the consumption of caffeinated beverages is to drink more water. Caffeine is a diuretic which means that it increases urine production.

Is Diet Coke a diuretic?

This myth that diet sodas like Diet Coke lead to dehydration was recently debunked. A can of Diet Coke has 46 mg of caffeine. Regular consumers of diet sodas didn’t experience diuretic effects in the study. You’d need to consume 250-400 mg to experience a diuretic effect.

Is diet soda hydrating?

Diet soda is made of mostly water so it is considered hydrating. Now that science proved that they do not have a diuretic impact on regular soda drinkers, they are a hidden source of water. However, it’s better to reach for a glass of water given the other health risks associated with soda.

How bad is Diet Coke for your body?

Diet Coke and other diet sodas might be low in calories, but they do carry side effects. They’ve been linked to lower bone density in women, acne, childhood obesity, high blood pressure, and a variety of other ailments that make reaching for milk or water much more appealing.

Is diet soda worse than regular soda?

Both diet soda and regular soda offer zero nutritional value. Diet soda has fewer or zero calories than regular soda, but its artificial sugar tricks the brain into thinking that it’s about to receive energy. So, people who drink diet sodas tend to overeat to feed the body what it craves.

(Be sure to check out health benefits of coffee and health benefits of cucumber water.)

Will this information impact your diet (or regular) soda consumption? If you cut back, how did you do it?

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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One Comment

  1. My husband decided to drink crystal light- eight drinks a day. By night, he was a raving lunatic, I actually had to call the police and was making arrangements to move out of the house. This went on for about two weeks. We were finally asked if my husband had done anything differently in his diet. The only change was the crystal light. He stopped drinking it immediately and within 24 hours, all raging stopped. We were told it was the aspartame.