“Diet” sodas and zero-calorie drinks are marketed as “healthier” alternatives to regular soda. But do not be fooled, they are made out of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. Artificial sweeteners are said to contain no calories but are at least 300 times as sweet as sugar. As a result, most people are deceived by the thought that products labeled as zero-calorie retain their sweetness without causing weight gain or diabetes. (Related: Is Diet Soda Bad for You? Here’s What Happen to Your Body When You Drink It.)
Here are six more reasons why you should not drink diet soda:
- Diet soda may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes – Research has shown that although artificial sweeteners do not contain processed sugar, which is the main cause of blood sugar imbalances, they may increase your blood sugar levels. They do this by interrupting the balance of probiotics in your gut. Good gut bacteria contribute to maintaining blood sugar levels, and reducing them may raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Diet soda contributes to metabolic syndrome – Diet soda has been found to increase the risk of metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases like hyperglycemia, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. A study that focused on the effects of diet soda consumption found that people who drank diet soda every day for two years had a 36 percent increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to those who did not consume diet sodas. In addition, they had a 67 percent increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Diet soda makes you crave for sugar more – The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause sugar cravings by activating the sweet taste receptors and the hormones in the gastrointestinal tract that regulate hunger and satiety signals.
- Diet soda can alter your eating habits – Because of the altered reward processing of the sweet taste as perceived by the brain, diet soda may cause changes in eating behaviors. When you drink diet sodas, the neurotransmitters involved in the reward response are stimulated. The activation of the neurotransmitters dopamine and endogenous opioids cause a person to crave for more sweet food.
- Diet soda may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases – Diet soda can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease even when metabolic syndrome is not present. In a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, it was found that those who drank diet soda every day for 10 years or more were more likely to develop cardiac disease and hypertension.
- Diet soda is linked to weight gain and obesity – Contrary to what marketers claim, diet soda actually promotes weight gain and obesity. A study found that diet soda consumers had higher body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who did not drink artificially sweetened beverages.
Healthy soda alternatives
Instead of drinking diet soda, here are some healthy refreshing drinks you can make at home:
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- Flavored water – Make your own flavored water by adding natural flavoring to your water. To make one, simply add slices of your favorite fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, oranges, cucumber, mint, or limes, to a pitcher of cold water.
- Green tea – Green tea, hot or iced, is a healthy alternative that is full of antioxidants and may help lower the risk of various diseases.
- Green juice – Green juice is a low-calorie juice made out of fresh vegetables. You can make one by adding your favorite vegetables, and a few slices of fruit to sweeten your drink, to a juicer.
Read more news stories and studies on sodas and artificial sweeteners by going to Sweeteners.news.