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Recent research shows that drinking diet soda may have negative effects on your health. From strokes to weight gain, diet drinks may do more harm than good. Take a look at these four side effects from diet soda and consider your own diet drink usage.
A study in the American Journal of Cardiology followed 100,000 people for 10 years. Researchers wanted to see if diet drinks are really a healthy option to sugary ones. The soda industry sure pushes them as being better. Still, the study found no such thing. Those who choose diet drinks face the same health risks as those who opt for sugary drinks. Most notably, a 20 to 30 percent higher risk for heart disease.
Drinking diet soda might be bad for your kidneys. One study found that women who drank two or more diet sodas a day were twice as likely to have future kidney health decline. Researchers found that regular soda did not have the same effects, leading them to believe that artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas may be a contributor.
Since it’s not made with real sugar, you may believe that diet soda will not raise your risk for diabetes. Not so fast. Drinking diet soda daily is linked to higher risks for Type 2 diabetes, one study by the American Diabetes Association says. It showed people who drank diet soda each day had a 67 percent increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with people who don’t.
The term “diet” may be misleading. A number of studies actually link diet soda to weight gain.
Harvard nutrition experts explain that diet sodas may trigger cravings for sweet, high-calories foods. So, even if you reduce calories by choosing sugar-free sodas, those calories – plus more – are added back in if you crave and cave to sugary, fatty foods. They also note that rodent studies have shown least one artificial sweetener (aspartame) damages the area of the brain that signals when to stop eating.
Man-made sweeteners may:
The debate over whether diet soda is good or bad for you is still on-going, but recent studies may make you rethink your drink choices. If you think you may be drinking too many diet drinks, talk to your doctor or health care provider to get the best advice for you.
Originally published 2/9/2015; Revised 2019, 2022
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