19 Facts About Diet Soda That Might Make You Finally Stop Drinking It
Artificial sweeteners may have zero calories, but they could cause some side effects.
So how many diet sodas have you had today? Some people can stop at just one. Others rarely drink any, preferring water or juice or some other healthful beverage. But some people may opt for diet soda simply because they think it’s a healthier choice.
Yes, diet soda has zero calories. Yes, it’s an inexpensive way to get your caffeine fix. But is it worth it? The risks might seem so rare and distant that they basically don’t apply to you, anyway. But some of the things that can happen to your body may cause immediate side effects — headaches, cravings, mood swings… Not to mention the long-term effects that may occur if you drink it every day.
If you’re a diet soda addict, here are some facts about it that might finally get you to quit.
Artificial sweeteners have been known to trigger painful headaches
Many diet sodas are sweetened with aspartame, a controversial sweetener that tastes 200 times sweeter than regular refined sugar. Some studies have linked the sweetener to headaches in some people, suggesting that it might trigger the unexplained pain.
Diet soda can cause breakouts
It may not be greasy or sugary, but diet soda is still not great for your skin. The dehydrating effect can dry out your skin, making you more prone to acne. If you’re suffering from dry skin, one of these remedies might help! But simply staying hydrated could help prevent dry skin, as well.
Diet soda drinkers are likely to be depressed
A survey of 263,925 adults showed some correlations between soda and depression. The study suggested that consumption of diet sodas was associated with an increased chance of a depression diagnosis. Soda drinkers overall were 30 percent more likely to be depressed — diet soda added another 22 percent of risk into the equation.
Diet soda drinkers have lower bone density
In a 2006 study, women who drank diet soda had significantly lower bone mineral density than those who abstained. Low bone mineral density can set you up for osteoporosis later in life. Take care of your bones with these foods to keep them healthy and strong!
Diet soda could interfere with your natural gut bacteria
Gut health is important to maintain for not only digestive comfort, but other aspects of your health, as well. There is some evidence to suggest that healthy gut bacteria have an effect on your energy levels, immunity, and even mental health. Diet soda may disrupt things, though. A study published in the journal Nature showed that artificial sweeteners may alter the type and function of the bacteria in your gut microbiome. Additionally, aspartame decreases the activity of certain enzymes in your gut, according to one study from 2016.
Diet soda mixed with alcohol gets you drunker than a sugary cocktail would
Even if you’re worried about calories, you may not want to opt for a diet soda as a mixer. A diet soda mixed with any sort of spirit is likely to make you feel drunker than the liquor would on its own. Studies show that diet soda drinks result in higher blood alcohol concentrations. Sugar slows down the absorption of the alcohol, giving you a steady, more controllable buzz. Artificial sweeteners, on the other hand, have no such effect.
Drinking diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes
You do not want metabolic syndrome — that’s a metabolism disorder that can cause diabetes, heart problems, weight fluctuations, and even death. Diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 30 percent, according to some studies. It’s even more likely to contribute to your risk of diabetes specifically, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Drinking diet soda can interfere with your sense of taste
According to a study published in the journal Appetite, an increased consumption of sucralose (an artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas) can decrease the brain activity of the amygdala, which is a part of your brain involved in taste and the experience of eating. Scientists believe this may show that sucralose actually changes the way you perceive eating actual sugar by comparison.
Drinking diet soda puts you at high risk for hypertension
Diet soda drinkers may be more likely to experience high blood pressure than those who avoid it and opt for a healthier beverage. According to a study conducted on adolescents, frequent consumption of diet soda drinks was correlated with increased blood pressure. Even if you avoid the foods that could send your blood pressure through the roof, your zero-calorie cola habit could be adding some risk.
Drinking too much diet soda could be bad for your kidneys
It’s not in your head — there’s a biological addictive response to the beverage. Dopamine and glutamate, two neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward center, are released from the caffeine and aspartame. Basically, the soda influences your brain to crave it again after you finish your can, chasing the next soda-fueled high. Caffeine in general is hard to quit. Here’s what happens to your body when you try.
Drinking diet soda probably won’t help you lose weight
Just because it’s calorie-free doesn’t mean it’s an effective weight loss tool. Some studies actually show weight gain in association with drinking diet soda. A review of scientific literature showed that studies showing weight loss from replacing drinks with diet soda were often funded by the artificial sweetener industry.
Just one diet soda a day boosts your risk of a heart attack.
According to a study from the University of Miami, regularly drinking diet soda can significantly escalate your risk of a heart attack. Regular soda drinkers who opted for the sugary drink instead did not have as strong a risk. You might be better off with the sugary soda — or, more likely, water.
Over time, diet soda can cause your skin and muscles to wither
Some believe this withering effect is due to the phosphoric acid used in most dark-colored sodas (both diet and regular) — it’s fine to drink in moderation, but if you’re guzzling can after can, it can have chronic implications. Phosphoric acid can disrupt the nutrient absorption process in your body. In excess, this can prevent skin and muscles from getting the nutrients they need. This can speed up the aging process, giving you more wrinkles and a weaker frame.
Some studies show drinking diet soda causes problems during pregnancy
According to a study from Denmark, just one diet soda a day was associated with a 38 percent increased risk of preterm delivery. Four sodas a day increased the risk by 78 percent. So if you’re pregnant, you might want to quit the habit ASAP. Here are eight other drinks you should avoid if you’re pregnant.
One study found that diet soda drinkers’ teeth are just as eroded as those of meth addicts
According to a case study published in the journal General Dentistry, the mouth of one habitual diet soda drinker was just as eroded as the mouths of a meth user and a crack addict. This dangerous addiction might not be as strong, but it’s certainly more common. Diet soda is something out of a dentist’s nightmare.
Too much diet soda can give you brain damage
According to a study from Boston University, diet soda drinkers are up to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia than people who didn’t drink the soda. You’d be better off loading up your diet with these foods that can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and leave your diet soda days behind.
Aspartame breaks down into other scary-sounding chemicals in the body
When your body digests aspartame, it breaks down into methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. The methanol is then converted to formaldehyde and eventually formic acid. That’s a string of long chemical names, and each of those spends some time in your body after you drink aspartame.
Diet soda raises your risk of stroke
The same study that suggests diet soda increases risk of cognitive decline also showed an increased risk of stroke. Not sure what to eat and drink to protect your brain? Here’s what neurologists recommend.
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