Why Is Drinking Diet Soft Drinks Bad For You?

We all know that the one of the worst things about drinking regular soft drinks such as Coke is the high sugar content, so surely sugar-free diet soft drinks seems like a logical alternative right?
Maybe not. Over the past few years there have been quite a few studies that imply that diet soft drinks are actually bad for us over the long run, despite not containing the very high levels of sugar.

There have been a variety of claims over the years as to why diet soft drinks are so bad for us, but let’s take a look at a few so that you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to pick up that can of Diet Coke – or find something else to drink!

Increased Weight Gain

No, that’s not a typo! Diet soft drinks can actually make you gain weight if you drink them for a long period of time. According to a study performed by the University of Texas Health Science Center, drinking diet soft drinks more frequently has been correlated to a larger waist line. That study also determined that the sweetener aspartame, increased blood sugar (glucose) levels in mice, implying that the same could be possible in humans.

There has been some opposition to these findings, citing the small sample sizes used and the fact that parts of the test were done with mice and not humans – but there have been similar studies done in the past that show similar results – so at the very least it’s worth taking into consideration if you’re dieting. You should certainly consider the fact that even diet soft drinks might be bad for you if you are on a diet or trying to lose weight, as there is evidence to suggest that this might well be the case.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack
According to an American Stroke Association study of people who drank diet soft drinks at least once a day – they had an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other “vascular diseases”. The study followed around 2,500 New Yorkers for close to a decade, and found that over 60% of them had a higher risk of vascular events.
Increased Risk of PreTerm Birth

There was also a study of Danish doctors published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that saw an increase in preterm birth rates for those women who drank diet soft drinks, but there was no increase in those that drank regular, sugared soft drinks. Despite the study, Dr. Thorhallur I. Halldorsson, who led the study said that “one observational study is not enough to justify strong statements” and there is a need for additional studies in this area. But again, this is certainly worth considering if you tend to drink a lot of diet soft drinks presuming they are somewhat safe and good for you – according to research it is possible that this may not be the case!

Aspartame Side Effects
One of the most controversial ingredients in diet soft drinks is the sweetener aspartame, which was originally approved by the FDA in 1974. There have been literally hundreds of suspected side effects from aspartame since then, ranging anywhere from migraine headaches to brain cancer!

Despite the large number of claims about aspartame, the majority of claims have been disallowed by the FDA due to flaws in the testing of the sweetener. Despite the FDA rulings however, many countries throughout the world have now proposed bills to eliminate the use of aspartame, and some stores in the UK have stopped using it all together. Many soft drinks manufacturers have now also switched to alternative sweeteners like Splenda, which have a less controversial track record

So Is Diet Soda Bad For You?
The conclusion here is that although to date there is no real concrete evidence that conclusively proves that diet soft drinks are actually bad for you, there is certainly a lot of controversy about it and lots of research that suggests that at least for most people, we might be better off avoiding them and stick to drinking alternatives instead. The advice would be to avoid them if you can, as in our opinion it is simply not worth the risk when compared to simply sticking to drinking other alternatives such as water, natural fruit juice etc.

How Toxic is Sugar?

In a recent interview that aired on CBS, Dr. Sanjay Gupta sparked a national discussion when he discussed the recent research results surrounding sugar consumption and the effects it can have on the human body.

This discussion has sparked a debate that we thought it would be useful to examine further in this blog post – namely just how dangerous is sugar consumption and what will consuming too much sugar do to you and your body over the longer term?

Most experts agree that excessive sugar consumption is either directly or indirectly to blame for many of the current diseases and adverse health conditions that are found throughout the world.

Such conditions include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease.

It is also a fact that around 16% of the total calories that many people consume come from added sugar that is contained in foods and drinks such as energy drinks, soda, desserts, fruit drinks, ice cream and chocolate.

The issue with this is that far too many people throughout the world are consuming too many calories in total, but with significantly too few nutrients in their diets as they are not consuming the required whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

The truth is that many of us don’t realize just how much sugar we are consuming. This includes via regular table sugar, as well as honey, syrup, and virtually all processed foods.

In addition, sugar is often consumed unnoticed via foods such as yoghurt, sauces, bread and peanut butter.

Another problem is that sugar is addictive, and ingrained in our biology – as there is no food stuff on the planet that has fructose in it that is poisonous to you – so put simply, when you taste something that’s sweet, it’s an evolutionary signal that this is a safe food for you to eat. This explains our fascination with sugar and why we are so keen to constantly consume so much of it.

Humans naturally used to get fructose mainly by eating fruit, which is also typically high in fiber, which helps to slow consumption and the body’s absorption of the food. But today’s processed foods, which contain refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, are much easier to overeat, which has been one of the main causes of our current problem with sugar in our diet.

However, it’s important to note that not all nutrition experts are convinced that sugar is highly toxic. Although most agree that, when consumed in excess, sugar can be detrimental to your health, it is also widely accepted that when consumed in moderation, sugar is absolutely fine.

To give you some idea of how much sugar you should be consuming, and whether you are indeed taking in too much – The American Heart Association recommends that women consume around 100 calories – or 25 grams – of added sugar each day, while men limit consumption to around 150 calories – or 38 grams, per day.

To limit your sugar consumption, try and avoid drinking too many sugary drinks such as soda, and opt instead for unsweetened ice tea, water or 100 percent fruit juice.

Also, pay attention to labels and recognize that, in addition to high fructose corn syrup and sugar, items like corn syrup, corn syrup solids, malt syrup, liquid fructose, molasses, anhydrous dextrose and crystal dextrose all signal added sugars in a processed food item.