Five Surprising Ways Diet Soda is Wrecking Your HealthPosted: May 13 in Lifestyle by Staff
As consumers work to reduce the amount of added sugar in their diets, many are reaching for diet soda to replace sugary soft drinks. While this may seem like a healthful choice, there are risks associated with diet soda that many do not know about. Keep reading for five reasons why you might want to put down the pop and reach for some water instead.
Increased Risk of Weight Gain
It seems counter-intuitive that consuming a product without calories could increase the risk of weight gain, but it’s true. Diet soda is made with high intensity sweeteners that are hundreds of times more intense than sugar. Regular diet soda consumers acclimate to that level of sweetness as a baseline, which means that anything sweetened with sugar will need far more to be satisfying.
Increased Risk of Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Although they don’t contribute calories, artificial sweeteners can spike blood sugar and raise insulin levels. Insulin levels to rise as the body prepares to deal with the glucose that typically accompanies something as sweet as a soda. Falsely stimulating this insulin response repeatedly over time can decrease the effect, which can be harmful at times when the body actually needs to produce a high level of insulin to cope with sugary foods. It can also raise overall blood sugar levels and contribute to diabetes.
Increased Risk of Migraine
Diet sodas rely on artificial sweeteners to deliver a taste similar to their full-sugar counterparts. Those sweeteners, including sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium, are generally safe, but they can act as potential migraine triggers. Those who suffer from migraine headaches should avoid diet products with these sweeteners.
Lower Bone Density
Low bone density is often an indicator of poor nutrition, since it is typically attributed to a lack of calcium in a patient’s diet. Scientists have discovered that it could also be an indicator of life-long soda consumption. Studies indicate that daily cola consumption over a long period of time is linked to lowered bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis. This is likely due to the phosphoric acid typically found in colas, since the same effect was not associated with clear lemon-lime sodas acidified with citric and ascorbic acids.
Poor Dental Health
Although sugar is typically blamed for cavities and other dental issues, it’s not the only contributor. Sodas have natural carbonic acid from the carbonation process and high levels of citric, phosphoric, and ascorbic acid added for both taste and food preservation purposes. That acid eats away at tooth enamel and weakens teeth, making them more susceptible to plaque, cavities, and other serious issues.
All these issues and more are proof that soda, diet or not, should be a treat enjoyed sparingly. If you’re looking to cut back on your soda consumption, try unsweetened sparkling waters, fruit infused agua fresca beverages, and unsweetened tea. Your body will thank you!