So how many diet sodas have you had today? Some people can stop at just one. Others rarely drink any, preferring water or juice or some other healthful beverage. But some people may opt for diet soda simply because they think it’s a healthier choice.
Yes, diet soda has zero calories. Yes, it’s an inexpensive way to get your caffeine fix. But is it worth it? The risks might seem so rare and distant that they basically don’t apply to you, anyway. But some of the things that can happen to your body may cause immediate side effects — headaches, cravings, mood swings… Not to mention the long-term effects that may occur if you drink it every day.
If you’re a diet soda addict, here are some facts about it that might finally get you to quit.
A survey of 263,925 adults showed some correlations between soda and depression. The study suggested that consumption of diet sodas was associated with an increased chance of a depression diagnosis. Soda drinkers overall were 30 percent more likely to be depressed — diet soda added another 22 percent of risk into the equation.
In a 2006 study, women who drank diet soda had significantly lower bone mineral density than those who abstained. Low bone mineral density can set you up for osteoporosis later in life. Take care of your bones with these foods to keep them healthy and strong!
Gut health is important to maintain for not only digestive comfort, but other aspects of your health, as well. There is some evidence to suggest that healthy gut bacteria have an effect on your energy levels, immunity, and even mental health. Diet soda may disrupt things, though. A study published in the journal Nature showed that artificial sweeteners may alter the type and function of the bacteria in your gut microbiome. Additionally, aspartame decreases the activity of certain enzymes in your gut, according to one study from 2016.
Even if you’re worried about calories, you may not want to opt for a diet soda as a mixer. A diet soda mixed with any sort of spirit is likely to make you feel drunker than the liquor would on its own. Studies show that diet soda drinks result in higher blood alcohol concentrations. Sugar slows down the absorption of the alcohol, giving you a steady, more controllable buzz. Artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, have no such effect.
You do not want metabolic syndrome — that’s a metabolism disorder that can cause diabetes, heart problems, weight fluctuations, and even death. Diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 30 percent, according to some studies. It’s even more likely to contribute to your risk of diabetes specifically, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
According to a study published in the journal Appetite, an increased consumption of sucralose (an artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas) can decrease the brain activity of the amygdala, which is a part of your brain involved in taste and the experience of eating. Scientists believe this may show that sucralose actually changes the way you perceive eating actual sugar by comparison.
Diet soda drinkers may be more likely to experience high blood pressure than those who avoid it and opt for a healthier beverage. According to a study conducted on adolescents, frequent consumption of diet soda drinks was correlated with increased blood pressure. Even if you avoid the foods that could send your blood pressure through the roof, your zero-calorie cola habit could be adding some risk.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, diet soda could be bad news for your kidneys. One study showed that women who drank several diet sodas a day showed a significant decline in kidney function. Your kidneys are really important — they filter out the toxins from your body.
It’s not in your head — there’s a biological addictive response to the beverage. Dopamine and glutamate, two neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward center, are released from the caffeine and aspartame. Basically, the soda influences your brain to crave it again after you finish your can, chasing the next soda-fueled high. Caffeine in general is hard to quit. Here's what happens to your body when you try.
Just because it’s calorie-free doesn’t mean it’s an effective weight loss tool. Some studies actually show weight gain in association with drinking diet soda. A review of scientific literature showed that studies showing weight loss from replacing drinks with diet soda were often funded by the artificial sweetener industry.
Some believe this withering effect is due to the phosphoric acid used in most dark-colored sodas (both diet and regular) — it’s fine to drink in moderation, but if you’re guzzling can after can, it can have chronic implications. Phosphoric acid can disrupt the nutrient absorption process in your body. In excess, this can prevent skin and muscles from getting the nutrients they need. This can speed up the aging process, giving you more wrinkles and a weaker frame.
According to a study from Denmark, just one diet soda a day was associated with a 38 percent increased risk of preterm delivery. Four sodas a day increased the risk by 78 percent. So if you’re pregnant, you might want to quit the habit ASAP. Here are eight other drinks you should avoid if you’re pregnant.
According to a case study published in the journal General Dentistry, the mouth of one habitual diet soda drinker was just as eroded as the mouths of a meth user and a crack addict. This dangerous addiction might not be as strong, but it’s certainly more common. Diet soda is something out of a dentist’s nightmare.
According to a study from Boston University, diet soda drinkers are up to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia than people who didn’t drink the soda. You’d be better off loading up your diet with these foods that can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and leave your diet soda days behind.
When your body digests aspartame, it breaks down into methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. The methanol is then converted to formaldehyde and eventually formic acid. That’s a string of long chemical names, and each of those spends some time in your body after you drink aspartame.
The same study that suggests diet soda increases risk of cognitive decline also showed an increased risk of stroke. Not sure what to eat and drink to protect your brain? Here’s what neurologists recommend.
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