Do you know from many options what is the greatest source of calories for Americans?? Some of you may answer, white bread or Big Mac. But why don’t soda? The average American consumes roughly two cans a day. “But I drink diet soda,” you remark. “Appealing content with no calories or sugar, it’s the perfect option for weight watchers. Right?” However, Scientists have a different narrative to tell you about the caramel-colored bubbly before you pop the cap off. From the 1950s to now, several sugar-sweetened beverages are available, including “light” or a “diet” variant, such as Diet-Coca-Cola, Pepsi Max, Sprite Zero, and so on. Some people believe that diet soda is a better choice since it has no calories. But it includes chemicals that are responsible for chronic illnesses such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and other neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
So, is there any nutritional benefit in diet soda? If so, how much? And then again, does it really represent harm to your health? Before beginning with, let’s see how diet soda differs from regular soda and whether diet soda has any health advantages or not?
Diet Soda vs Regular Soda
Carbonated water and sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup or sucrose; phosphoric acid, are ingredients if it’s a dark cola. Whereas “natural flavors;” and caffeine are the main ingredients in regular soda. When it comes to diet soda, the main difference between it and its regular version is the presence of sugar alternatives. Sucralose, aspartame, and stevia are all common sugar replacements found in diet sodas and other diet beverages.
Benefits of Diet Soda
Drinking diet soda has certain advantages, such as cutting down calories and improving blood sugar levels. Diet sodas are generally not recommended by health care professionals. However, if a person drinks regular soda daily and isn’t ready or prepared to give it up, then diet soda is not suitable for you.
Health Risks of Diet Soda
Before consuming the diet soda on a daily basis, let’s check out the health risks that come with it.
1. Zero Nutrients Value
Diet soda contains carbonated water, artificial sweeteners, colors, food additives, and flavors. In most cases, it contains only a few calories and has no nutritional value at all. It includes 40 mg of sodium per 345 ml cane of diet soda and has neither calories, fat, sugar, or protein. Apart from this, it is loaded with acids, caffeine, and preservatives such as potassium benzoate; thus, it has no nutritional value whatsoever.
2. Weight Gain
We’d expect diet soda, which is typically calorie-free, to assist in weight reduction, right? But unfortunately, the actual results are not clear-cut as they used to be until then when the American Journal of Public Health revealed a shocking statistic regarding individuals who consume diet soda, where it was found that among obese people, 22 percent drink diet sodas each day. Even experts stated consuming artificial sweeteners and drinking large volumes of diet soda are connected with a higher risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. If you think avoiding actual sugar results in calorie loss, it may not be as beneficial as you expect. The “double cheeseburger + fries + diet drink effect” is a typical example of this.
After consuming, the body interprets sweetness as sugar entering the system, causing insulin to be released, which in turn affects blood sugar levels. Moreover, from research, it was also revealed that a person over 65 had higher chances of developing abdominal obesity for consuming diet soda and linked to high BMIs.
3. Risk of Metabolism
Diet soda users and abstainers may have a more complex weight differential than simply eating more. “Diet soda is sweetened with chemicals that are not natural to the body and are not used effectively.” As a result, they can cause inflammation and burden the body’s detoxification function once they enter the body. Therefore, the risk of metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes may increase.
4. Diabetes and Heart Risk
You don’t have diabetes, right? Well, you’re not safe either. Diet soda may significantly raise your chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes. You may ask how?
Diet soda, as previously stated, can lead to weight gain and a slowed metabolism. These two components alone might be the beginning of a formula for diabetes in the future. Even if you think drinking a diet soda once a day might have less health effect, then again here is a piece of bad news for you. Consumption of an artificially sweetened beverage once or twice a day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8–13 percent. While drinking diet soda itself raises your risk of a stroke by 48%, the reason might be a strong correlation between high salt intake and increased risk of blood clots in the brain.
Besides heart or stroke issues, if you are a diabetes patient and have already consumed more than four cans of diet soda per week, then the risk of getting visual problems might increase twice, much higher than you have ever expected.
5. Kidney Issues
If you think you have already made your grocery list with heart-healthy options, then check again because the diet soda you prefer most may generate kidney conditions. To examine this issue, when the research was conducted on 15,368 adults, experts found a link between diet soda use and an elevated risk of end-stage renal disease. People who drank more than seven glasses of diet soda per week had nearly double the chance of getting kidney disease compared to those who drank less than one glass per week. You might have the curiosity to know the backend player who is responsible for all these happening?
This is none other than, the high phosphorus content of soda, which may increase the acid load on the kidneys, and according to experts this high amount of phosphorus is thought to be a contributing factor for kidney issues that no one wants to face.
6. Tooth Decay
Doesn’t sugar-free diet soda seem healthier for your teeth than regular soda to you? Consider it a second time! Diet soda is acidic even though it contains no sugar. Almost as much as non-diet soda, these chemicals can cause dental enamel erosion.
Cutting off diet soda altogether may not be the best solution for most individuals. However, moderation is essential. ‘If you’re going to drink a soda, limit yourself to 6 to 8 ounces at a time,’ advises Rebecca Oh, RD, clinical dietitian at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. Neither diet nor regular soda, according to her, is exempt from this rule.
It’s better to focus on improving your health than worrying about how much diet soda you can consume. Add unsweetened sparkling water or unsweetened tea over other beverage alternatives if you’re missing something bubbly.
Diet soda may not be the best choice if you seek to replace regular soda in your well-rounded diet. However, be cautious to avoid unwanted health risks. Hence, instead of grabbing a can of diet soda the next time you’re out to eat or desiring something sweet, take a glass of milk, herbal tea, or water flavored with natural fruits to enrich your heart-healthy daily routine.