One of the most terrible things about going on a diet is staying away
from your favourite fizzy drinks. That’s when diet soda came to the rescue,
giving you the same amazing cola flavour without all the unwanted calories
that come with it. Putting a “healthy” spin on your favourite sugary beverage,
diet drinks bragged of having as less as just one calorie in them. Blame
it on the fear of sugar, but weight watchers have been increasingly gravitating
towards these drinks, thinking that diet sodas will help them with their
weight loss goals. But be warned. Fewer calories don’t mean it is
healthier or safer. In fact, there is a lot of debate whether diet sodas
actually help you lose weight in the first place. The low-calorie
sweeteners used in these drinks may not be healthier than sugar, and studies
say that excessive consumption of these sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose
and saccharin through diet drinks can, in fact, increase the risk of weight
gain. Here are some other ways in which diet drinks can ruin your health.
1 Weight gain: Many dieters choose diet drinks in a bid to reduce caloric
consumption and to maintain their weight. Subconsciously, they think that
it is healthier to drink diet drinks than regular sugar-sweetened ones.
But multiple studies have shown that diet drinks could contribute to weight
gain than loss. One study has also tied it to the epidemic of abdominal
obesity, where people tend to pile weight around the waist.1 2
2 Depression: A study published in the PLOS in 2014 compared the effects
of unsweetened coffee and tea with sweetened diet drinks and soda. The
researchers were able to positively tie diet drinks to higher risk of
depression and tea and coffee to a lower risk.3
3 Kidney damage: A team of researchers in 2011 concluded that having more
than two servings of sweetened diet soda was associated with faster decline
in kidney functions. There was a two-fold increase in the risk of decreased
kidney functions in women who consumed these artificially sweetened drinks.4
4 Metabolic syndrome: Diet drinks rich in artificial sweeteners can lead
to a cluster of metabolic disorders like increased blood pressure, abnormal
levels of cholesterol, diabetes and increased concentration of fat around
5 Brain risks: Study shows that long-term consumption of aspartame, a
common sweetener used in diet drinks has the ability to cause an imbalance
of antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain through glutathione-dependent
6 Asthma risk: An Australian study conducted in 2012 examined almost 17,000
participants who regularly drank more than half a litre of diet drinks
every day. The study showed that there was a positive correlation between
soft drink consumption and increased risk of COPD conditions like asthma
among the participants.7
Diet drinks should be made an occasional indulgence not a daily If it
is sugar that you are afraid of, there are many other healthier substitutes
like stevia, honey, agave nectar and jaggery you opt for instead of artificial
1.Yang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners
and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. The Yale Journal
of Biology and Medicine, 83(2), 101108.
2. Fowler, S. P., Williams, K., & Hazuda, H. P. (2015). Diet soda
intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference in
a bi-ethnic cohort of older adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study
of Aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(4), 708715.
3.Guo, X., Park, Y., Freedman, N. D., Sinha, R., Hollenbeck, A. R., Blair,
A., & Chen, H. (2014). Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression
risk among older US adults. PloS one, 9(4), e94715.
4.Lin, J., & Curhan, G. C. (2011). Associations of Sugar and Artificially
Sweetened Soda with Albuminuria and Kidney Function Decline in Women.
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN, 6(1),
5.Crichton, G., Alkerwi, A., & Elias, M. (2015). Diet Soft Drink Consumption
is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome: A Two Sample Comparison. Nutrients,
7(5), 35693586. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053569
6. Abhilash, M., Sauganth Paul, M. V., Varghese, M. V., & Nair, R.
H. (2013). Long-term consumption of aspartame and brain antioxidant defense
status. Drug and chemical toxicology, 36(2), 135-140.
7.Shi, Z., Dal Grande, E., Taylor, A. W., Gill, T. K., Adams, R., &
Wittert, G. A. (2012). Association between soft drink consumption and
asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults in Australia.
Respirology, 17(2), 363-369.
Image source: Shutterstock
Published: November 7, 2017 4:17 pm | Updated:November 7, 2017 4:28 pm
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