About a year ago we posted this article on diet soda. Since then, further research has been done on these aspects of diet soda consumption as well as new findings about possible risks to choosing beverages with artificial sweeteners. Most of these studies are conducted on those who consume at least one diet drink, if not more. However, most people who drink diet soda drink several a week (or a day!). Below are just a few of the dangers of drinking diet soda, especially a regular habit.
1. Link between soda and depression. This isn’t specifically for diet soda, but a recent study followed people who consume more than four servings of soda a day. They had a 30% more chance of dealing with depression, with the diet soda drinkers even slightly higher. If it’s the caffeine you need, coffee has been linked to a decrease in depression, and can give you the jump-start you need in the morning or afternoon slump. The depression study is in the basic stages, and hasn’t even begun to tackle to biology behind the findings, but it is certainly something to be aware of.
2. Diet soda increases chance of diabetes. A study conducted in France has linked even the consumption of one diet beverage a week with a 33% higher chance of Type 2 diabetes. It is possible that the risk is even higher for those who consume more than one a week.
3. Diet soda consumption is linked to weight gain. You read that right. Diet soda (zero calories) is actually linked to weight gain rather than weight loss. This may also tie into the link between diet soda and diabetes. Aspartame, a common artificial sweetener used in beverages, raises insulin levels, much the same as consuming plain old sugar. In non-scientific terms, when you consume a diet soda, your body realizes you have just had something sweet and starts looking for that energy that comes from sugar. However, the diet soda doesn’t contain real sugar, but artificial, which will not give you energy. At this point, your body is confused, and may become hungry or crave sweets in order to gain that energy it thought it was getting in the first place. Pay attention next time you drink a diet soda–do you end up wanting sweets an hour or so later?
Bottom line–artificial sweeteners have a host of side effects that are not pretty. If you want to enjoy a sugary drink, you are better off enjoying the real deal, added calories at all, but saving it for a very occasional treat.