Diet soda’s hefty toll on your health

Diet soda’s hefty toll on your health

Diet soda is consistently advertised as regular soda’s healthier option. With ‘diet’ in its name, it has been branded as an aid in weight loss.

But the dangers of drinking diet soda include weakened tooth enamel, headaches and more. Now, a recent study shows that diet soda could lead to other health complications grouped as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol. These conditions lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and even Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel tested the effects of diet soda consumption on volunteers. The participants were asked to consume the equivalent of 10-12 artificial sugar packets within the week-long experiment— an amount of sweetener matching that consumed by avid diet soda drinkers. The researchers were faced with notable results: some of the participants’ blood sugar rose to pre-diabetic levels.

Prediabetes means that blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified Type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, prediabetes can become Type 2 diabetes over time.

“Diabetes is a disease that needs to be taken very seriously. If you ignore its signs and forego treatment, it could lead to deadly results,” says Rosie Bernard, a diabetes educator at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “I talk to my patients all the time about making sure they do everything they can to treat their diabetes.”

It’s worth noting that the study was conducted only over a week’s time, and on a small sample size of volunteers.

Nevertheless, lowering the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is important for everyone. Steps to prevention include staying active, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight—and potentially kicking your diet soda habit.

That can be tough, as many habitual drinkers claim the beverage is addicting. But there are healthier alternatives; Bernard says substituting soda with green tea or adding fruit to your water can make for an easier transition.

 

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Comments

18 Comments

  1. Interesting article, but it contradict with Advocate Hospitals. You published these alarming studies, yet the only option in your cafeterias and vending machine are nothing but diet sodas and other drinks with fake sugars that are dangerous to your employees health.

  2. I don’t drink diet soda but use Splenda in my tea in the morning. I drink 2-3 cups with 2 packets in each. Is this the same as drinking diet soda?

    Thanks.

    • Wendy Pinkowski August 2, 2016 at 12:53 pm · Reply

      I look forward to the answer too, I also don’t drink diet soda but use Splenda in my morning coffee.

  3. Why did our cafeteria decide to take out all regular soda and replace it with “Diet” if we all know the dangers of drinking diet?

  4. If diet soda is so bad for us then why did the Advocate hospital switch to all diet soda in the machines that sell soda and have all the Advocate hospital cafeterias sell only diet soda?

  5. If diet soda is so bad for you, which I completely agree, then why did Good Sam get rid of all the regular soda leaving only the diet soda for employees and visitors to purchase?

  6. I broke a Diet Coke habit by switching to avitae caffeine water. 🙂

  7. Uh-oh. Better remove these from the ACMC campus, too.

  8. health enews editor August 2, 2016 at 1:07 pm · Reply

    Advocate Health Care offers a wide array of healthier beverage choices in our cafeteria and vending machines. We replaced highly sugar-sweetened beverages with a variety of no-sugar or low-sugar-added options, because research shows that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and poor dental health. Providing a wider variety of no-sugar or low-sugar-added beverage options aligns with our mission by supporting healthy behaviors for the individuals, families and communities we serve. We’ll continue to monitor studies on the health impacts of diet soda and, if necessary, adjust our cafeteria menus accordingly.

    • the dangers of drinking diet soda include weakened tooth enamel, headaches and more. Now, a recent study shows that diet soda could lead to other health complications grouped as metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol. These conditions lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and even Type 2 diabetes.

  9. To which diet soda ingredient are you attributing the weakening of tooth enamel?

  10. So Advocate thinks that diet drinks are safer? They also cause cancer in laboratory animals and are linked to neurological disorders.
    It is a HUGE associate, patient, and family dissatisfier on a daily basis.

  11. Tooth enamel is affected by acids in the soft drink- it has nothing to do with the sugar content. This is what happens when the truth is stretched in one way to try and justify an argument about something else. Splenda is just artificial sweetener, period. Don’t expect it to have an advantage over other such artificial sweetening products. Advertising claims are just that, advertising- intended to increase sales, not promote scientific accuracy or promote health. Splenda might be better in tea- mainly because it is tea which provides tannins and possibly antioxidants: some things soft drinks NEVER provide.

  12. What about Stevia? Any issues with Stevia used daily to replace sugar? The stevia I use is from trader joes and is fairly pure. To my knowledge, Stevia is a plant. If i get the amount I use right, in certain foods like coffee or yogurt, it gets close to the taste of sugar though with some aftertaste.

  13. What artificial sweetener was used in the study? I don’t drink diet soda, but I do use 3 packets of Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin) per day to sweeten various food items. Saccharin is found in all sorts of products, including mouthwashes, the toothpaste that I use, as well as in various pharmaceuticals.

    From what I’ve read about artificial sweeteners, aspartame is generally considered to be the most hazardous to your health, not only because it turns into formaldehyde when exposed to even low amounts of heat, but also because of the abnormally high amounts of two amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) that get put into your system.

    Aspartame is the sweetener that is more commonly used in diet sodas. Was this the sweetener that was used in the study?

  14. Why would Advocate choose to try and force people to drink diet drinks and remove all regular soda from our cafeterias? We are adults that can make our own choices.

  15. Gopal Thuppilikat August 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm · Reply

    If diet soda is so bad for you, which I completely agree, then why did Lutheran General Hospital get rid of all the regular soda leaving only the diet soda for employees and visitors to purchase?

  16. Sorry Health enews editor. You are not convincing me. There are still too many diet beverages available that are detrimental to the Advocate associates’ health on our campuses. Wouldn’t a fresh juice bar have been a better option?

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.