When we kicked off the New Year, for many, weight loss and fitness is a top goal. In that quest, many people realize the time has come to put down the sugary sodas and make the mistake of switching to diet soft drinks. Bad idea. Just because it says diet doesn’t mean it’s healthy, and it certainly doesn’t mean it holds the key to losing weight.
There are studies released weekly highlighting the dangers of diet soda, and regular consumption has been linked to everything from bone loss and obesity to kidney damage, depression, heart attack, stroke, and certain cancers. These reports, occurring with increasing frequency, need to be taken seriously. Without getting too specific on some of the horrifying details I want to give you just five quick things to think about next time you are tempted to choose a diet soft drink.
1 – Weight gain. Yes, that’s right, a study released from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, finds that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more weight they were likely to gain. In fact, downing just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Why? Researchers from Purdue University found that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of foods.
2 – Depression. New research from the National Institute of Health suggests sodas and other sugary drinks — especially artificially sweetened ones — could be related to depression, in fact people who drink four cans or more of soda daily are about 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people who don’t drink soda at all.
3 – Increased risk of stroke and heart attack. A study released in 2011 and reported on the Today show, found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events, including stroke and heart attack.
4 – Kidney problems. In an 11-year-long Harvard Medical School study, researchers found that diet cola is associated with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline. In fact, kidney function started declining when women drank more than two sodas a day.
5 – Dental problems and tooth decay. Diet soda is very acidic, and that acid readily dissolves tooth enamel. Studies have shown that adults who drink three or more sodas a day have worse dental health, says a University of Michigan analysis of dental checkup data. Soda drinkers also have far greater decay, more missing teeth, and more fillings.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully enough to make you think twice before you reach for another diet soda!