Diet soda won’t help you drink yourself skinny. Zero calories in this case don’t mean zero problems. In fact, quite the opposite. Drinking diet soda can increase your risk for heart attacks and diabetes. Don’t believe us? Studies conducted around the country, at places like Harvard and Stanford, have linked diet soda to a host of health problems, including high cholesterol, kidney failure and, yes, weight gain.
And you thought that cancer-causing artificial sweeteners would be the biggest deterrent to drinking diet. Not so. Links between artificial sweeteners, like those used to sweeten sugar-free drinks, and cancer have not been fully established, and studies about this link have proven inconclusive. So you’re likely less at risk for developing cancer from drinking diet soda than you are from noticing a weight gain the next time you get on a scale.
Still, you’re doing yourself no favors by drinking diet soda. So put it down, and back away from the refrigerator, because we’re going to show you the reasons why drinking diet soda may slowly be killing you.
- Several studies, including one conducted at Harvard Medical School, have linked diet soda to increased risks for declining kidney function; similar studies on non-diet soda have not.
- A study released earlier this year found that drinking a can of diet soda every day increased your risks for experiencing a heart attack or stroke by 43%, and that’s before factoring in any pre-existing conditions.
- Drinking one diet soda every day has been found to increase your risk for developing metabolic syndrome, with symptoms ranging from high cholesterol and belly-centric weight gain (i.e., that spare tire around your waist inflates) to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Drink two or more diet sodas a day and you confuse your body, since it doesn’t know what to do with the artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks. So it gets used to them, and it passes them through you unprocessed. When it realizes it needs a sweet fix, it sends you into the kitchen, where you’re likely to down more calories than you would have had you simply had a regular soda. In other words, drinking artificially sweetened diet soda tricks your body into thinking sugar is coming. But it isn’t. So your body may store sugar to compensate, defeating any real diet benefits you thought you were getting.
- The caffeine in diet sodas, in all sodas that aren’t labeled caffeine-free, can trigger short-term side effects including headache, nausea and anxiety. It can also cacuse longer-term side effects such as Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, hepatic diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. It can also keep you up at night, which could lead you to snacking at 2 a.m.
- Diet soda, even without caffeine, has also been found to increase your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which is when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin.
- Alcohol mixed with diet soda will enter your bloodstream faster than if you had ordered a drink with non-diet soda. The more of these mixed-with-non-diet-drinks drinks you drink, the drunker you’ll get, which can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening results.
- Chemicals in diet soda have been linked to allergic reactions and to exacerbating allergies in people already prone to them. You may break out in hives, become at higher risk for developing asthma or even feel a slight irritation around your eyes if you drink diet.
- Diet soda is closer in acidity to battery acid than it is to water, which is be bad enough. However, acidic drinks dissolves tooth enamel, and the more tooth enamel that is dissolved the greater your chances for developing cavities (as well as tooth decay).
- Anecdotal evidence shows that diet soda drinkers, on average, tend to have worse eating habits than people who drink regular soda. Why? Because no one drinks diet for the taste.
The next time you order diet, think again. Twelve or more ounces of sugar-free, artificially sweetened soda, especially when you’re dieting, may be alluring. Are the possible side effects worth it? Skip the diet soda. In fact, skip all soda. The next time you’re thirsty, drink juice. Better yet, drink water. It’s not trying to kill you. At least not yet.
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