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Is Diet Soda Bad for You? 5 Major Negative Side Effects of Drinking DIET Soda

Lisa Garber
September 17th, 2012
Updated 03/01/2013 at 1:56 am
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sodacanopen 235x147 Is Diet Soda Bad for You? 5 Major Negative Side Effects of Drinking DIET Soda

Americans consume almost 50 billion liters of soda annually. Keeping in mind that some sodas contain flame retardants in addition to a slew of unhealthy ingredients, it’s no surprise we spend so much on healthcare. And while consumers are beginning to realize that soda is indeed having a detrimental impact on their health, diet soda is turned to as an alternative solution. But is diet really better, or is diet soda bad for you? This is something millions of people need to know, and something that Coke and Pepsi don’t want you to know.

The artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, added to diet soda make the widely chosen beverage a peculiar drink, and research of its potentially devastating effects are still in its infancy – although we still do know that this drink is the complete opposite of healthful. Consumers want to know: Is diet soda bad for you? Here are 5 negative side effects of drinking diet Coke, diet Pepsi, and other diet drinks.

Is Diet Soda Bad for You? Presenting…1. Kidney Problems

Harvard Medical School researchers studied over 3,000 women for 11 years and found that diet soda consumption had a positive correlation to kidney health decline. This was especially true if the women drank more than two diet sodas daily, but the same kidney damage was not recorded among women who drank sodas sweetened with sugar.

‘While more study is needed, our research suggests that higher sodium and artificially sweetened soda intake are associated with greater rate of decline in kidney function,’ says Dr. Julie Lin, who led the research.

2. Altered Metabolism – Heart Attack and Stroke

Drinking a single can of diet soda daily is associated with a 34 percent increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome according to a 2008 University of Minnesota study. Nearly 10,000 adults were used for the study, and many showed unhealthy levels of belly fat, upping the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Lead researcher Hannah Gardener and her team studied 2,564 adults aged 69 years or older over the course of 10 years. Over the course of the study, 591 men and women had a heart attack, stroke, or died of cardiovascular causes. Researchers found that diet soda consumption was linked to a 44 percent higher chance of heart attack or stroke, up from the 22 percent non-soda drinkers have.

3. Obesity

Consumption of artificial sugar may lower immediate calorie intake, but when the tongue tastes sweetness and the body receives no calories from sugar, Purdue University says it gets confused. Consequently, people drinking diet soda may eat more food at meals and may even subconsciously go scavenging between meals. Appropriately, two or more cans of diet soda consumption was associated with a 500 percent increase in waistlines according to a University of Texas health Science Center study.

Other research from Texas involving 474 individuals also shows consuming two or more diet sodas a day prompts an increase in waist size. In fact, the increase was a shocking six times greater than those who did not drink diet soda.

4. Cell Damage

Drinking diet sodas even affects us on a cellular level. We can attribute this to diet sodas containing bizarre ingredients like mold inhibitors (not found in sugary sodas) often listed as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate. Peter Piper of the University of Sheffield says these chemicals “have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it.” Be wary of these ingredients if you want to steer clear of hives, asthma, and other allergic reactions, too.

5. Depression

If you’re feeling a bit depressed, you may be surprised to find out that diet soda could be contributing to these feelings of sadness. One very recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health has linked diet soda consumption with heightened risk of depression in older adults.

“Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk,” researcher Honglei Chen said. “More research is needed to confirm these findings.”

To put the icing on the cake, it’s good for consumers to know that aspartame is also created using genetically modified bacteria, and has been linked to cancer. So, is diet soda bad for you? You decide.

For more on sodas, check out this telling infographic.

Additional Sources:

Yahoo Health

Daily Mail


From around the web:

  • Anahi

    This is a real eye opener, very useful and insightful post. Foi chocante para ler o refrigerante diet tem efeitos sobre o metabolismo. Looking forward to reading more post like this one in the futuro.

  • Bob Gregory

    bha, next week it will be good for you, look at eggs and chicken skin.

  • joe

    My sister stopped drinking diet sodas and was hit by a bus.

  • susie anderton

    hi my name is susie i have been drinking diet coke for many years now i havent stoped drinking it i like to no if that will harm me now i am 43 now i stareted it at age 15. ilove to drink it alot and i carnt stop it please can you help me. i just hope i dont get any thing wrong with me drinking that drink. i also get mirganes too thanks .

    • Joe

      What you have read above is not science, it is a shoot from the hip, biased, oversimplification. If you are concerned about your diet talk to your doctor.
      P.S. You CAN stop drinking soda. Empower yourself. You alone control your life. Good luck.

    • Rick

      Drinking Diet Coke can significantly alter the ability to spell correctly or to use punctuation. Speak to your doctor.

  • nathan

    every researcher who studies the subject has clearly explained that correlation does not mean causation. just because there is a correlation between drinking diet soda and these health effects, does not mean it is the cause. most speculate that it is more a cause of lifestyle than the diet soda alone. having said that, most also say better alternatives are pure water or juice.

    • drketedc

      It is true that correlation doesn't equal causation, but I notice that medicos often say this about foods but never about the new drugs they want to push. There is also proper science behind the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners, too. Just train yourself to like things less sweet and if you really want some cake or a cookie or even a sweet drink, use honey or sugar and enjoy it thoroughly since you will be having less.

      I think one big reason people get fatter while they guzzle artificial sweeteners is psychological. They believe they have been 'good' about drinking this awful stuff and then eat more sweets to reward themselves.

      And NEVER consume this stuff while pregnant!

  • Mark

    I never trusted diet soda, and this article gives me even more reason to stay away from it.

    There was actually a study a little while back that found that drinking diet soda might lead to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

  • greg

    The acid is debilitating to ones health. Simple alternative is vitel water which is super alkaline living water and life enhancing.

  • Rich Murray

    Aspartame is 11% methanol (wood alcohol) — every molecule of aspartame gives a molecule of methanol, which quickly is made by ADH1 enzyme in humans into formaldehyde right inside the cells in the 19 specific tissues that have high levels of ADH1 enzyme, causing Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and, in the fetus, birth defects spina bifida and autism -

    breakthrough methanol formaldehyde toxicity paradigm by Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004 –

    745 free online full text scientific research references

  • monica labranche

    It is odd. Your better off staying away from sweets altogether.

  • michael davis

    Wow it's funny how everyone started running from sugar filled foods and drinks a decade ago and now we are starting to realize that good old sugar is not only better for you then fake sweeteners and High fructose corn syrup but safer to consume, ain't that a kick in the head.

    • hanspy

      WOW ,just use less sugar.Is that not what its all about?The taste wil adapt soon.And you wil drink your coffee thea or whatever with the same liking?