5 Reasons Diet Soda Is Even Worse Than You Thought

May 10, 2016
by Steve Holt for Thrive Market
5 Reasons Diet Soda Is Even Worse Than You Thought

After years of damning evidence about the damage sugar-sweetened sodas do to our bodies, more Americans than ever are finally giving it up. In fact, in the last Gallup “Consumption Habits” poll, 61 percent of respondents said they avoid regular soda—up from 41 percent in 2002. This is a good thing, for sure.

But diet soda may be no better—study after study has shown that the zero-calorie substitute comes with its own set of negative health problems. Here are five reasons diet soda may be even worse than you thought.

1. It's bad for baby

A diet soda habit could impact your unborn child. Just this month, researchers believe they’ve found a connection between women who drink diet soda regularly and the likelihood that their child will be obese down the line.

2. It can harm your gut

In a study conducted last year and published in the journal Nature, scientists found that the artificial sweeteners in most diet sodas—chemicals like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine—seem to alter gut bacteria (microbiome) and actually cause blood sugar to rise. That sets off a chain reaction that can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems. And, since research now shows the importance of gut health to whole-body wellness, having that diet soda probably isn't worth the havoc it could wreak.

3. It can trigger weight gain in old age

It's time to convince grandpa to kick his Diet Coke habit. According to the results of a longitudinal study published last year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, older adults who drank diet soda daily saw their waistlines increase more than 3 inches over nine years—that's nearly four times more than non-soda-drinkers. Because gaining weight around the belly increases the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome, this change comes with some big health risks.

4. It's tied to diabetes

This one might come as a surprise. Drinking one diet soda a day was associated with a 36 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in a 2009 study.

5. It messes with your tastebuds

Because the sweeteners in most diet soda are actually more intense than regular sugar, drinking them regularly confuses the body and dulls the senses to healthier, naturally sweet flavors found in fruit and other foods. In other words, diet sodas may make you crave sugar even more. Artificial sweeteners can also trigger the release of insulin, leading the body to store fat and potentially causing weight gain.

Need one more reason to quit sodas altogether? If you’re drinking one of the major brands, you’re still contributing to the deceptive marketing tactics that attempt to get young people around the world hooked on sugary sodas. This is one of the reasons why the big soda companies aren’t too worried about the decline of consumption in the West: their consumer base in the global East and South is big enough to make up for the amount of people who are quitting on this side of the world.

If you’ve quit regular soda, bravo—but the research clearly shows that it won’t do you much good unless you quit all soda.

Photo credit: Darren Muir via Stocksy

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This article is related to: Food, Health, Nutrition, News, Educational

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  • mceltix2000

    Where to start with this useless article...

    1. You provide no evidence that -- somehow, magically -- a woman drinking a diet cola will one day have a kid, and that kid will feel the effects. If that actually worked, imagine how effective we could make vaccines, and immunizations! Just give a woman a dose of something, using the "Steve Holt" method -- and presto! no more shots for her kids. BTW: The 'link' you provided was another article on this bogus site (since taken down, probably because it's nonsense, too!)

    2. Here again you link to bogus sites, citing articles that are nothing more than drivel themselves. You cite articles written by other novices, who in turn cite articles that say, "studies done by others suggest...". It's a giant circular pile of horsheshi*.

    3. So adults who are more likely to drink diet soda every day, are more likely to be obese. I suppose this would be surprising to a developmentally disabled orangutan -- but some of us are a wee bit more deft of wit. Adults who are already overweight trying to consume magic thinning beverages? Don't let large multi-national corporations find out about this tendency...rutroh! ( http://slimfast.com/ http://www.gnc.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=82495046&ab=CMS:HomePage:HealthandWellness:WeightManagement)

    4. Congratulations for linking an actual study, with actual linked data & methodology. But in the study you linked, the conclusion is pretty much saying there's an *association* between diet cola and obesity -- but no causation could be found. i.e., "So people who are fat, drink diet cola (surprise) -- but we can't prove that diet cola is what made them fat. They could have been fat from eating 4 cheeseburgers an hour, or because they slam a liter of jack daniels every day -- we can't prove anything with this study."

  • http://jameswcooper.com James Cooper

    Utter baloney

  • Mud

    This is junk science, just like the entire anti-vaxx movement.

  • R.J.

    If you must have soda, switch to organic if you can afford it. And this article ain't bogus. Aspartame is very dangerous to some.

  • madison995

    What we know about health today, you would have to be ignorant to think that any soda would be healthy for you. Diet soda has you graving for more sugar besides cause stomach cancer