Why Diet Soda Isn’t Even Healthier Than Regular Soda
Diet sodas generally contain no calories or sugar. Artificial sweeteners are used instead. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are about as unhealthy as regular sugar, rendering diet soda’s apparent advantage soda null. The problem is the deleterious effect artificial sweeteners have on regular digestive function: ordinarily, the taste of sweetness is connected to a sensation of fullness — when something sweet is consumed, the body expects calories to arrive.
With diet sodas the sweetness is present, but without any calories. This confuses the body and disrupts normal metabolic function, throwing off the internal mechanism used to determine how many calories have been consumed. To compensate, the body makes you hungrier. The inclusion of artificial sweetener in diet soda is thus self-defeating and can make drinkers put on weight.
This danger is reflected in the studies indicating that diet soda is as associated with being overweight as regular soda. The idea that diet soda will help you lose weight has no backing. The idea itself might contribute to the problem, since the belief that you are drinking something that is good for you will make it easier to justify eating some other unhealthy thing.
Unfortunately, there are still more negative effects connected to diet soda. Other studies have shown that drinking diet soda can increase a person’s change of getting diabetes, heat disease, or stroke. Diet soda is also harmful in more minor ways, as in the gradual wearing down of tooth enamel. Drinking diet soda has even been associated with a higher chance of depression.
Remember that besides its bad effects, diet soda has no nutritional value at all –there’s nothing beneficial to counterbalance the bad side of the drink. While part of diet soda’s appeal is that it has no calories, this means it provides nothing beneficial to the body. If you want a zero-calorie drink, water is the way to go.
Clearly, diet soda is bad for you, and does not measure up to its reputation as a healthier alternative to regular soda. Drinking diet soda on a limited basis isn’t a disaster — what’s harmful is the belief that diet soda’s effects are basically neutral, and that it can be consumed in large quantities. Instead, remember that diet soda is no healthier than normal soda, and try to restrict your consumption.