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.
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.
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.