By Sport Nutrition Coach Laura Nava
Is diet soda good for you? I get this question a lot. Or the person will say, “but I only drink diet soda not regular soda”. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news folks, but both regular AND diet sodas are bad for you.
Diet soda offers zero health benefits. It contains artificial sweeteners that are harmful to your body, gut, kidneys and brain. And a special bonus, it can lead to weight gain, which then can lead to diabetes. Most people think diet soda is the wiser choice since it doesn’t contain the 16 teaspoons of real sugar, like regular soda. And since real sugar is associated with higher calories and regular soda causes cavities, it’s no wonder diet sodas became a mega alternative choice. The genius marketing system suggested diet sodas was the healthier alternative, but sadly, it only made people sicker.
Artificial sweeteners are bad for you. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in diet soda, is composed of aspartic acid, phenylalanine and a methyl ester, a chemical, not a naturally occurring compound. In other words, aspartame is pretty much a villain. It has 92 reported side effects by the FDA and discouraged for pregnant women and children to consume.
Sooo…. Wait a minute, that makes it ok for the rest of us??!!
Other artificial sweeteners like sucralose and saccharin are also used to sweeten diet soda, adding zero calories. These sweeteners confuse the body, throwing off its natural ability to manage calories. Those who consume more (because why not, it’s a healthier choice), are at higher risk for hypertension, weight gain, and diabetes. “The intense sweetness of artificial sweeteners, which may habituate toward a preference for sweets or stimulate an insulin response”, per Leah Zerbe, MS, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES. Artificial sweeteners are highly addictive and taste a 1000 x sweeter than sugar. This amps up the insulin response, your metabolism slows down, and you will become hungrier more quickly, making you crave more sweets and carbs that inevitably adds weight to your belly.
Some ask, “But diet sodas have zero calories to low calories, it’s supposed to help me lose weight, right?” Again, that is what the soda companies and the marketing team bank on, you buy into, both their business module and their products.
Diet sodas have a harmful affect all over your body. It destroys your gut microbe, that then can lead to developing glucose intolerance. There is also a connection or I should say, dis-connection of your gut and brain when consuming too much diet soda. Aspartame, seems to chip away at the brain’s antioxidant defense system. Harvard researchers have also found long-term diet soda drinking to cause a 30 percent greater reduction in kidney function. The study looked at people who regularly consumed diet soda over 20 years. Drinking one or more diet sodas a day can double the incidence of kidney disease. In another study by the University of Miami, they followed 2,000 adults, over a 10-year period. Those who drank diet soda were more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. This increase risk remained even when researchers adjusted for smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol, and other factors that could have contributed to the difference.
Though it is a widely accepted policy that diabetics drink diet soda in place of regular soda, diet soda actually contributes to diabetes. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that women who drink one 12 oz can of diet soda a week has a 33% increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and women who drink one 20oz diet soda a week has a 66% increased risk. Imagine the percentage of risk increase for drinking one per DAY??!! People who drink diet soda, drink twice as much as those that drink regular soda, and that is because diet soda, with the artificial sweeteners, is more addictive than regular-sugar soda.
My prescription for you is to stop drinking diet soda. Doing so, will help fight off weight gain, hold off diabetes, your gut will appreciate it, as well as your kidneys and brain. Pretty much your entire metabolic system will function MUCH better without it. I have helped many people curb their worse cravings, and helped them learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of real, whole foods. Anyone needing information to help kick those pesky artificial/real sugar cravings—I’m your Gal!
Schedule a FREE 20MIN consultation with me here.
Wishing you health, fitness and happiness,