Posted on 08/28/2018
You may indulge in diet soda on a regular basis or on a rare occasion, but that may not be your best choice of beverage according to science. In study after study, diet soda is taken to task and rightfully so, there’s no nutritional purpose for it and its manmade form is harmful to one’s health. But, people still drink it! To understand why, we need to go back to where it started.
Since its inception in the 1960’s this “newfound beverage” was everything what everyone wanted in a soda with none of the guilt of a sugar and calorie-laden beverage. It was considered the best! But as consumers know, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Turns out, it couldn’t be more true with diet soda.
Why is diet soda so harmful?
First, I ask you this….can you tell the difference between regular and diet soda? Not really? Well, turns out your body can’t either! Normally, you consume food or drink and it contains calories. And, when it is sweet in taste, the brain sends signals to our pancreas to produce insulin and store sugar for energy. But when we drink diet soda, our body is tricked because of the sweetness and that the energy-packed calories from the beverage never arrive, the insulin has nothing to store. Basically, it is messing up the body’s natural processes through mixed signals and messages due to the chemical make up of artificial sweeteners.
What researchers believe is that by drinking diet soda repeatedly, it tricks our body and study after study shows those individuals who drink diet soda are associated with developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and weight gain. Having metabolic syndrome increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity.
Another side effect of drinking diet soda according to another study is a higher risk of stroke and dementia than regular soda drinkers.
Think diet soda is good for your waistline?
Think again! In a long-term, 8-year study from 1979-1988, those who drank an average of 21 diet beverages a week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese by the end of the study, compared to people who avoided diet beverages completely.
You may think it is okay to enjoy a diet soda with a meal instead of water, but a growing body of research is finding it is the worst time to drink it! This is because of how the body processes the “fake calories” in diet soda and how it tricks or disrupts how many of the real calories we metabolize. Which in turn, makes us leave excess calories behind that is then stored as fat.
Maybe you don’t drink diet soda, but you do drink other “diet beverages” that contain artificial sweeteners? Then, you may want to check out the research before you reach for it the next time. With artificial sweeteners ten to hundreds times sweeter than sugar -- that could very well be the culprit. When we taste it, our brains anticipate more calories than what we actually provide it with diet drinks, such as diet soda. The body is left disappointed and hungrier than when it started. Making our bodies want more, and research shows it can increase appetite and potential weight gain.
If you’ve followed along for any length of time, you know I am not a fan of diet (or regular) soda. I extol its harm to whoever will listen and hope I reach just one person, who will change their behavior and stop drinking soda.
Bottom line: Diet soda is not diet friendly as the name may have you believe it is. In fact, if you want (or need) to drop a few pounds…step away from the diet soda (or diet beverages containing artificial sweeteners) and pour yourself a nice, tall glass of H2O instead!
She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.