You head down the grocery aisle to grab your favorite soda… But just before you take it off the shelf, you pause for a second.
“Maybe I should get the diet one.” You think to yourself. “After all, it will save a lot of calories and I have been trying to lose weight.”
But, before you reach for that calorie-free option, you need to think again.
Those no-calorie, artificially sweetened sodas come with just as many health risks if not more than their sugary cousins.
Here are the five biggest health risks you take each time you pour yourself a glass.
Health Risk #1 – Blood Sugar Problems
One of the biggest risks to your health when you drink diet sodas is blood sugar problems. You see, the artificial sweeteners used to make these drinks taste like the sugar-packed version you really crave have been linked to metabolic disease.
Basically, the fact that your brain perceives them as super sweet without your body experiencing the other effects that naturally come with consuming sugar can mess with your gut-brain connection, actually altering the microbes normally found in your gut.
That’s why studies have shown that drinking diet soda daily results in a 36 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome along with a 67 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-diet soda drinkers.
In fact, one study found that in some people, their blood sugar levels can shoot up to pre-diabetic levels within days of their first exposure to the artificial sweeteners found in these sodas.
And, the problems with drinking diet soda don’t just stop at diabetes.
Health Risk #2 – Heart Attack and Stroke
Drinking diet soda also raises your risk of heart attack, stroke and death from heart disease. Not really a good trade-off for a can of soda, right?
Health Risk #3 – Migraines
Those migraines you’ve been living with could also be caused by your favorite diet soda. That’s because many are sweetened using aspartame. The problem with this is that aspartame has been shown to destroy the balance of antioxidants (good free-radical scavengers) and pro-oxidants (compounds that damage cells) in your brain.
Health Risk #4 – Depression
That diet soda could also be to blame if you’ve been feeling blue since both sugary and sugar-free sodas can cause depression.
In fact, a study of over 260,000 people found that drinking any type of soda raises your risk of depression by a whopping 30 percent. And, your risk is higher if you choose diet soda over regular.
Health Risk #5 – Kidney Damage
And, if all that isn’t enough, drinking diet sodas can also cause kidney damage. A long-term study of over 3,000 women found that drinking just two or more of these sugar-free drinks a day resulted in a 30% greater reduction in kidney function over 20 years.
So, ditch those diet drinks forever as well as the dangers to your health that come with them. Instead, try a little bit of fruit juice mixed with seltzer water, naturally sweetened tea or flavored sparkling water. And, remember when it comes to your health, there’s really no substitute for plain old water.
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- Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes — NPR
- Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) — Diabetes Care
- Is there a link between diet soda and heart disease? — Harvard Health Blog
- Long-term consumption of aspartame and brain antioxidant defense status — Drug and Chemical Toxicology
- Diet Soda Linked to Depression, Coffee Tied to Lower Risk — Newswise