Staying healthy can be incredibly difficult, as tempting snack and drinks are within arm’s reach almost everywhere. But as you change your lifestyle habits and opt for healthier food and drink options, there may be gray areas confusing you as to whether or not diet products are safe– specifically diet soda. So can your favorite no-calorie diet drink help you lose weight? In short, the answer is no.
In fact, a Purdue researcher suggests that health officials should urge diet soda consumers to avoid the drink just as they do with regular soda. Warning labels should be expanded to include limiting the intake of all sweeteners, including the infamous no-calorie sweeteners, said Susan E. Swithers, PhD, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue.
Swithers closely evaluated recent studies that aimed to answer whether or not diet soda is bad for you. And what she found was that about 30 percent of American adults and 15 percent of American children consume artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin.
“Beverages are becoming political issues as government leaders and politicians seek regulation and taxing to limit their availability and consumption, but most of these measures exclude diet soft drinks because they are perceived as healthy. When it comes to making policy decisions, it’s more important than ever that the science is considered and that the public understands what the science says in order to help them make the best health decisions,” said Swithers in a Purdue report.
The issue with diet soft drinks primarily concerns the use of artificial sweeteners that confuse the body’s natural ability to manage calories based on tasting sweets. People who consume artificial sweeteners are twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, according to the Purdue report.
While drinking diet soda evidently takes a toll on your health due to artificial sweeteners, it is also the culprit behind various other health issues such as depression, kidney damage, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung issues, and poor brain health.
A study conducted by Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina stated that drinking more than four cans of soda a day is linked to a 30 percent higher risk of depression. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression. The risk was significantly greater for people who drank diet soda.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School who studied the effects of long-term diet soda consumption found a 30 percent greater reduction in kidney function. The study observed participants who regularly drank diet soda for over 20 years.