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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