You may think that you know the risks of drinking diet soda, but we're betting that if you did, you might reconsider tossing back a Diet Coke or Diet Sunkist every day as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Multiple studies, executed over the last decade or so, have started to highlight the very real and very present dangers of drinking diet soda. Unfortunately, despite the growing awareness of these risks, diet soda consumption among kids has grown 50% over the last decade, and 25% in adults (via The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). In order to do our part to increase awareness, we have compiled a list of the negative effects of diet soda.
Kidney Problems: An 11-year-long study at Harvard Medical School discovered that women who drank 2 or more diet sodas a day greatly increased their risk of kidney decline. Interestingly enough, it wasn't the sugar-sweetened sodas that did the trick - it was the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks. (via MSN Healthy Living)
Obesity: Don't scoff just yet - a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center suggests that the more diet soda a person consumes, the greater their risk is of becoming obese (via MSN Healthy Living). Brooke Alpert, author of The Sugar Detox, explains that the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda actually dull our tastebuds to real sugar (like the kind found in fruit) and trigger the release of insulin. This sends the body into fat-storage mode, and the pounds start to pile on. (via Health.com)
Metabolism: You may think that the caffeine in diet soda is actually kick-starting your metabolism, but according to a study conducted in 2008 by the University of Minnesota, 1 diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Symptoms can include belly fat, high cholesterol, and even type 2 diabetes, so be careful! (via MSN Healthy Living)
Headaches: It was inevitable that aspartame was too good to be true. Early studies of the chemical have revealed that aspartame can trigger headaches and migraines, along with a plethora of other serious issues. (via Health.com)
Hangovers: The combination of alcohol and diet soda may sound like a lower-calorie alternative to a sugary cocktail, but it actually increases the rate at which you become intoxicated. A study in Australia confirms that sugar-free mixtures allow alcohol to enter your bloodstream at a much faster rate than those that contain sugar. This makes those hangovers even more unbearable to deal with the next morning. Try these alternatives, and remember to drink responsibly! (via MSN Healthy Living)
Your Smile: Diet soda doesn't just cause internal problems. The citric acid located in these drinks weakens and destroys the enamel on your teeth. In fact, a case study published in the medical journal General Dentistry reveals that diet drinkers sport the same tooth erosion as cocaine and meth users! (via Health.com)
Cell Damage: If you haven't been pursuaded yet, then this fact might just do it. Diet sodas contain mold inhibitors (sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate), which are chemicals that can cause some pretty intensive damage to the DNA in the mitochondria. These chemicals not only have the potential to eradicate chunks of your DNA, but they also have been linked to symptoms like hives, asthma, and other allergies. (via MSN Healthy Living)
Heart Problems: Researchers at the University of Miami and Columbia University conducted a study which revealed that people who drank diet soda on a regular basis were 43% more likely to experience a vascular event than non-diet drinkers.Here are some heart-healthy foods to keep you on the right track. (via Health.com)
Premature Death: The findings of a decade-long study of 60,000 women, presented at the American College of Cardiology, showed that women who regularly drank diet soda containing aspartame had a 50% increase in death risk. While the study could not conclusively confirm that aspartame was the sole cause, be mindful that it was definitely a contributing factor! (via Natural News)
If you're still struggling to dump the diet soda down the drain, try out some of our delicious drink recipes as a substitute!