Is diet soda bad for you? Diet soda has no sugar, calories, fat, or carbohydrates, and it feels all cold and bubbly going down your throat. What’s not to like on the surface? Unfortunately, the advertising on the can doesn’t tell the whole story, and those bubbles come at a very high price. That price can include Type 2 diabetes, seizures, loss of kidney function, various cancers, and most ironically of all, obesity.
How can diet soda cause obesity if it has no sugar, calories, fat, or carbohydrates? The human body works in many complex ways. A study published this spring found that over a nine year period, people drinking diet soda gained three times the amount of abdominal fat as those who didn’t drink diet soda.
Those who didn’t drink diet soda increased less than an inch around the waist during the nine years, while regular drinkers of diet soda added more than three inches around their middle.
Those who were only occasional diet soda drinkers increased about 1.8 inches in the midsection. This is a bad sign because the accumulation of belly fat has been highly associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and inflammation. (Granted, correlation does not imply causation.)
So why does this happen? To put it simply: artificial sweeteners. Zero-calorie sweeteners make drinks up to 600 times more sweet than regular sugar, setting the bar for satiation at a much higher level. Another consideration is that fake sugars can change the friendly bacteria living in the gut in ways that would increase susceptibility to the insulin resistance and glucose intolerance that precedes a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.
Women drinking two or more diet sodas a day experienced a 30% decline in their kidney function over the course of only a decade, says another study. Those researchers found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose were to blame for the rapid degeneration of kidney filtration rates.
Various researchers such as Dr. John Olney from Washington University and Dr. Richard Wurtman from MIT have found that artificial sweeteners create holes or lesions in the brains of lab rats fed aspartame, deform their fetuses, and lower IQs. Nerve damage, seizures, and death were also reported by these researchers. But their research was kept from the public eye while corporate research teams pumped out trumped up documents proclaiming its safety.
Renown Dr. Morando Soffritti recently confirmed what other scientists had observed as much as 30 years ago, documenting that consuming aspartame leads to a host of illness and disease that includes malignant tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, and premature death.
One of the components of aspartame is wood alcohol, an extremely poisonous chemical used in paint remover. Since its FDA approval in 1981, aspartame has been the source of 78% of complaint reports to the FDA’s Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS).
Reactions reported include memory loss, slurred speech, vision problems, and dizziness. This cluster of symptoms has become so common that it is often referred to as aspartame disease. Of course adverse symptoms reported to ARMS are a very small portion of adverse symptoms in the population.
The Dangers of Fake Sugar are Not Confined to Aspartame
Many individuals hearing about the havoc aspartame can create in the body have switched to other artificial sweeteners advertised as being ‘safe,’but that is just propaganda. Sucralose, marked as Splenda, has a similar profile of damage as aspartame, including severe chronic illness, central nervous system disorders, migraines, reduced immunity, and various cancers.
Artificial sweetener Acesulfame K received FDA approval in 1988 and has been marketed it as ‘safe’ as well. Since then it has been found to stimulate low blood sugar attacks and lung and breast cancers, in addition to leukemia and chronic respiratory disease in rodents. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has noted there was initially a petition to stop the FDA approval of Acesulfame K because of “significant doubt” about its safety.
In May of 2014, the FDA gave its blessing to Advantame, a cousin of aspartame. Advantame is a blockbusting 20,000 times sweeter per gram than table sugar. You probably won’t know when you are consuming this one, because it has the feature of not breaking down in heat, making it perfect for use in commercially baked goods.
The bottom line is that artificial sweeteners are artificial creations which can compromise immunity and lead to bad outcomes. If you want to kick the artificial sweetener habit and get on the road to better health, using the correct Stevia for sweetening is the way to do it. Better yet, tone down the sweetness and really taste the components of what you are drinking by skipping sweetener altogether.