The Truth About Diet Soda

Diet Coke. Diet Pepsi. Diet Mountain Dew. Diet soda. With every soda, companies have created a “diet” version. And for multiple different reasons, people choose the option of diet drinks instead of their regular soft drink counterparts. Whether consumers drink it because of the taste or because “it’s better for you”, a large amount of people are putting diet sodas down as their drink of choice. But, there are large misconceptions about this particular product that the public tends to sweep under the rug. Before you take a sip of that next diet drink, here’s a few things to consider:

 Diet Soda Contains Aspartame

Aspartame is a lab made chemical sweetener first sold under the NutraSweet brand.  This substitute sweetener is sweeter than actual sugar despite its lack of calories. The problem with aspartame is that is contains unbonded methanol that our body cannot process. Or in other words, the aspartame is too foreign for our body to consume. This methanol then converts itself into formaldehyde (Fun Fact: Formaldehyde is used to embalm dead bodies). And formaldehyde is considered to be “a human carcinogen”. Aspartame can be found in most products claiming to be low-sugar or sugar-free. Check the ingredient labels the next time you have access to sugar-free products, it will be interesting to see if something you consume daily has aspartame in it.

Diet Soda Can Cause Weight Gain

The thought of drinking diet sodas leads to justification of bad eating habits. You might be more prone to get that double cheeseburger now because you have a diet soda and that’s fewer calories than usual… Right? Not exactly. The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas triggers insulin. Insulin is a hormone in your body used to regulate carbohydrates absorption or fat storage.  The important thing to take away from that sentence is fat storage. With artificial sweeteners constantly being consumed, your body is constantly triggering more insulin. This leads to more fat storage within the body and more weight gain. Now, obviously if you’re eating healthy and exercising, this will seems trivial but for those of you who drink diet sodas on a regular basis, it’s something to consider.

Diet Soda Makes Your Body Crave More Sugar

Speaking of weight gain, another problem with the artificial sweeteners is that its chemicals trick your body. When you are about to consume a sweet product like soda, your body is preparing itself to receive sugar. But artificial sweetener isn’t sugar. And when the body consumes this sweetener, it recognizes the fact that the body did not receive the sugar it prepared itself for. The body isn’t satisfied. This leads to consumption of products that contain actual sugar because that’s what the body is now craving. So if your purpose for drinking diet soda was to avoid calories, this tactic is rendered useless if you decide to get a piece of cake or donut after the fact. It overall results in more calorie intake. It’s worth it in the long run to take the soda with calories instead. Your body still wants sugar no matter what. With daily intake of artificial sweeteners, this can also lead to your body not being able to process regular sugar the way it used to. The body will get so used to artificial sweeteners being consumed that when you take in real sugar, it won’t know how to process it anymore or as well as it once did. This can lead to more weight gain or other health problems.

Cancer, Heart Problems, Birth Defects, Brain Cancer

There have been many debates over these particular health points correlating to artificial sweeteners and diet sodas. Studies have been recorded that prove the correlation and others just the opposite. While there are doubts about sweeteners causing chronic illnesses like the ones listed, there is pretty solid evidence on them having more negative effects than good. The scary thing in all of this is that the government promotes use of aspartame and artificial sweeteners. It is FDA approved and deemed safe despite studies that show otherwise.

As mentioned before, these points are still debated over within the science community and only more research will tell over time. But for now, it might be a good idea to stay away from diet sodas or drink them every once and a while. And for those of you who think this article is favoring regular soda, it’s not. In fact, regulating soda intake would be beneficial altogether. Instead of ordering a Coke at a restaurant the next time you go, order a nice glass of water as your drink of choice.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Quanny Carr
A Senior at UD keeping my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. Supernatural, Tea, and Pasta are the three loves in my life.
  • I completely agree with the article, the so-called zero calories foods and beverages are pretty harmful for us and a big reason behind several diseases, I try to avoid those and motivate people to not use it.