It’s time for me to kick Diet Coke and other sodas to the curb. Here are 8 snippets of information I found during my research that may help you think twice about heading to the soda fountain.
Diet Soda Health Risks
1. Weight gain
Some say that diet soda can actually make you fat, because it makes you crave sugar.
“Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite but unlike regular sugars they don’t deliver something that will squelch the appetite.”
– Sharon Fowler, obesity researcher at UT Health Science Center at San Diego (via CBS)
The other thought is that diet soda is consumed by people who are 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
Diet sodas like Diet Coke may inhibit the brain cells that make you feel full.
“Some studies suggest that when our taste buds sense sweetness, the body expects a calorie load to accompany it. When that doesn’t happen, it may cause us to overeat because we crave the energy rush our body was expecting,”
– Cheryl Forberg R.D., author of Flavor First (via Men’s Health)
3. A higher risk of stroke or heart attack
A study following 2500 New Yorkers for 9 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 to American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Original article is via MSNBC.
4. Diet sodas may cause kidney damage
Study participants who drank 2 or more diet sodas per day had 30% less kidney blood filtering ability than those who drank regular sodas or other drinks. Read more about diet soda and kidneys on WebMD.
5. Risk of tooth enamel damage
This post was actually inspired by a conversation about tooth decay in the comment section of my 10 Reasons Why You Should Drink Lemon Water post. Soda is hard on tooth enamel. Regular soda has both sugar and acid, while diet soda just has acid. Acid is bad. Check your soda to see if it either has phosphoric acid or citric acid. The latter is present in non-cola drinks and far more damaging.
My new dentist in La Jolla, Dr. Chris Wood, told me that drinking soda from a can also causes 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 more rapid than normal. As a result, your bones have to donate calcium from the body to keep up with demand.
“In an effort to cut calories and lose weight, many people drink diet soda in place of calcium-rich beverages and snacks like milk and yogurt. This means bones not only have calcium leached from them, but they don’t receive the dietary calcium they need to stay strong.”– Livestrong.com
7. Risk of dehydration
People who reach for diet sodas do so in lieu of water. Caffeine is a diuretic, so sodas with caffeine will add to the dehydration.
8. Possible Aspartame risks
The FDA says that aspartame is safe in doses of 50mg per kilogram of body weight. Basically for a 165lb adult, that’s approximately 21 diet sodas. There was a study showing an increase of cancer in rat 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.
Will this information impact your diet (or regular) soda consumption? If you cut back, how did you do it?
Photo credit: Flickr, [F]oxymoron