Advertising for “ zero calorie ” sodas is very tempting. The only other drink that can have this desirable characteristic is water, and while it may be good for hydration, it is much more tempting for the taste buds to have a can of diet soda.

But calories aren’t the only thing you need to worry about in the drinks you drink. Many of the ingredients in diet sodas have been shown to be detrimental to health and can lead to a variety of chronic diseases. You see that not everything that claims to be healthy is.

Diet sodas increase vascular risk

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that people who regularly consume diet beverages are at increased risk of developing vascular disease and suffer an event such as a stroke or heart attack.

The findings are based on data from the Northern Manhattan Study , which surveyed 2,564 adults about their diet and soda consumption.

Aspartame is a neurotoxin

The sweetener that is commonly used today in diet sodas is aspartame or (better known as NutraSweet or Equal), which is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and is synthesized from genetically modified microorganisms. Our metabolism breaks down aspartame into aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol, with further degradation of formaldehyde and formic acid. There are 180 mg of aspartame in a 12-ounce can of diet soda .

Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon who wrote the book ” Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, ” noted that aspartame is a toxin that affects protein synthesis, affects the way synapses function in the brain, and that the DNA can affect many organs.

Several hundred reports of aspartame side effects have been submitted to the FDA, of which 67% are neurological or behavioral problems. These include headaches, blurred thoughts, mood or behavior changes, depression, and seizures.

It was approved for the market based on industry sponsored studies that concluded that the substance is not hazardous. However, 97% of the industry-sponsored studies found at least one possible health risk.

Increase the risk of obesity

Studies have found that people who consume calorie-free diet sodas actually have a higher risk of obesity than those who drink lemonade sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Despite the fact that diet sodas do not contain sugar, they still stimulate the same insulin release that would have occurred if the drink contained sugar because the brain perceives it.

A study from the University of Texas Health Center reports that the risk of obesity from consuming diet sodas increases as follows:

  • A 26.5% higher risk for people who drink up to half a can of lemonade a day and 24% for people who drink up to a can of soda a day.
  • A 54.5% higher risk for those who drink one or two cans of diet soda per day, compared to 32.8% percent for those who drink the same amount of normal soda.
  • A 57.1% higher risk for people who drink more than two cans of lemonade per day compared to 47.2% for people who drink the corresponding amount of lemonade.

All in all, if you think you need to consume diet sodas, it’s best to drink the type of soda sweetened with sugar. But to be really healthy, ditch the sodas entirely in exchange for natural juices, green tea, or water with a hint of lemon. Your body will thank you!

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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