One of the top pieces of weight-loss advice you’ll hear is to stop drinking soda. The stuff is loaded with sugar and “empty” calories that can lead to all kinds of health implications. But is diet soda any better?
On the surface, it sure seems like it. Diet soda has no sugar and no calories; at first glance, it looks like a big winner. But there may be some serious danger if you hope to supplement regular soda with diet. The truth is that you may want to forget about soda altogether.
Several studies link diet soda consumption to negative outcomes that don’t appear too different than the sugar-filled counterparts. These include:
- Heart conditions like heart attack and high blood pressure
- Metabolic issues like diabetes and obesity
- Brain conditions like dementia and stroke
- Liver problems like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
At this stage, it’s hard to say why some of these associations have been observed. It may have to do with ingredients in the sweeteners, or perhaps its effect on gut flora. They may also lead to inflammation or have an effect on dopamine and lead people to crave more sugary snacks. In some, the zero-calorie drink may be looked at as an excuse to splurge elsewhere.
If you drink diet soda, it might be worthwhile trying to scale back. Research has shown daily consumption might triple the risk of stroke or dementia and boost the risk of diabetes. Getting off the sweet stuff will take some time, but you can try and eat more fruits like mango, pears, and pineapple to satisfy a sweet tooth. If it’s the carbonation you crave, seltzer or carbonated water is a good idea. You can even purchase a soda stream water machine for your home.
Diet soda isn’t the savior for weight loss or better health—it might be just the opposite. Something to think about next time you plan on sitting down with one.