Many diet drinks and sodas use artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners to replace regular sugar. Even though your sugar total is lowered, there are other negative side effects to artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are made from synthetic chemicals. They are not natural but produce a sweet taste, and are several thousand times sweeter than sugar with almost no calories.
Some names you will be familiar with are saccharin (Sweet and Low), sucralose (Splenda), and aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet). Sucralose is a form of sugar that is changed chemically by using chlorine to produce the artificial sweetener. Saccharin is a coal tar derivative and was found by accident to be very sweet. This actually was where Monsanto got its start in business by selling saccharin in 1901. Other sweeteners have been discovered as a part of studies on pesticides and insecticides like erythritol.
6. Poor Memory
Drinking diet sodas regularly makes you three times more likely to experience dementia or strokes, especially if you are over 60 years of age. More studies are necessary to really confirm this, but the evidence so far does give you pause to slow down or drink diet soda in moderation.
5. Strokes and Smaller Brain Volume
In one study, done by Yasmin Massavar-Rahmani, professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, suggests that repeated tiny strokes in the brain’s small blood vessels are a risk factor for dementia. “These findings show that we shouldn’t assume diet drinks are harmless when you consume them at higher levels.” All this brain damage can shrink brain cells, resulting in a smaller size brain.
Those affected were people already diagnosed with mood disorders and were very sensitive to aspartame. One study for depression affects was cut short due to severe reactions to the artificial sweetener.
3. Accelerated Brain Aging
Research done in the Framingham Heart Studies Offspring looked at people drinking two or more diet sodas per day or more than three per week. Among this high intake group, they found multiple signs of brain aging. Dr. Sudha Seshadri of Boston University School of Medicine says, “this evidence shows that there is not much of an upside to artificial sweeteners or sugars”.
2. Changes to Gut Bacteria
For instance, Splenda, which is a chemical form of sucrose, was cooked up in a lab, and these artificial sugars cannot be metabolized by the body. Research shows that some of this sucralose is absorbed by the digestive system, which can affect the good bacteria so that they cannot do their job properly.
1. Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Weight Loss and Metabolic Syndrome
A study in 2017 raises the possibility that these sweeteners do not help people manage their weight and may actually jeopardize their cardio-metabolic health. Other studies have shown it could even increase the risk of type 2 diabetes since these sweeteners can be addictive and alter your taste buds to make you desire even more sugar.
You will find many sites and studies that say artificial sweeteners have no side effects. Of course, this is a very controversial topic, because many of the studies on sweeteners that have been done are completed by the manufacturer of these sweeteners. Most doctors do not feel there are enough studies to worry about any side effects of artificial sweeteners.
Other studies have seen mixed results, and it is hard to confirm what really is happening. This could be due to the fact that sweeteners react differently depending on gender, age, genetics, and the body’s natural ability to process sugar, possibly having counterintuitive effects on your metabolism.Related: One Bowl of Rice is Equivalent to Two Cans of Soda