Several studies warn about the harm of artificial sweeteners in diet sodas for health. The reason: diet sodas can dramatically increase the risk of dementia and type 2 diabetes , among other diseases including cancer.

Eating too much sugar opens the door to diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks. Many people who love sodas and sodas later turn to diet sodas.

But how harmful is the sweetener in diet sodas really? Before we know a little about the different types of sugar-free soft drinks that are available in the market.

List of diet sodas and their artificial sweeteners

The data was obtained directly from the manufacturer:

  • Pepsi MAX® : sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame K.
  • Coca-Cola Zero : sweetened with the sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame-K: Aspartame (APM).
  • Unsweetened Coca-Cola : Contains Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium: 2 sweeteners commonly used together to enhance its sweetness.
  • Pepsi Max® Lima: sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame K), flavorings (including natural lime flavor and caffeine).
  • Pepsi Max® Zero Caffeine: sweeteners: aspartame and acesulfame K, flavors (extracts and natural flavors).
  • Pepsi Light: sweeteners: aspartame and acesulfame K, flavors (caffeine, extracts and natural flavors).
  • Fanta Zero: sweeteners E-950, aspartame and E-955.
  • Sprite Zero : contains Aspartame, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Acesulfame.
  • Seven-up Free Zero: aspartame and acesulfame K.

Does the sweetener in diet sodas harm your health?

Many beverage companies (all), have responded to the health conscious attitudes of consumers and also added their light, diet or zero version , sweetened with sweetener instead of sugar. A study conducted in the US made diet drinks appear in a new light and raises the question of whether the light variants are really as healthy as many believe.

Researchers at Boston Medical University recently published a study to suggest that consuming diet sodas with artificial sweeteners could have negative health consequences .

Sweeteners are associated with an increased risk of dementia, stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetic retinopathy¹, weight gain³ and risk of type 2 diabetes .

Long-term study in the United States raises new questions

In the Framingham Heart Study, a joint project of the United States National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in collaboration with Boston University, from 1948 included 5,000 residents of the city of Framingham, near Boston, and then to your children and grandchildren on any heart disease and its causes investigated.

The researchers used these data as the basis for the study, which observed the occurrence of a stroke in 2,888 people older than 45 years. 1,484 participants over the age of 60 were screened for dementia. All study participants were surveyed for years about their consumption of sugar and / or drinks containing sweeteners.

Triple the risk of dementia and stroke in the consumption of diet drinks

Among the subjects, doctors diagnosed a stroke in 97 cases, and 81 cases of dementia were diagnosed, with Alzheimer’s in most cases, or 63 people. According to the study, participants who reported consuming just one artificial sweetener daily had nearly three times the risk of having a stroke (2.96) than those who, according to the company, had not had any diet soda.

Many factors can be the cause

The results of the study, published in the medical journal Stroke, prompted scientists to see a link between diet sodas and a health hazard. But the US news company Bloomberg has already pointed out that the findings did not provide clear evidence of causation and therefore should be treated with caution.

Even the study authors acknowledged that the evidence is insufficient to draw definitive conclusions. Rather, there are many different factors that can play a role in dementia or stroke, as the Institute of Health said, such as a person’s age, but also high blood pressure, pre-existing diabetes, and not neglecting genetic factors.

Diet sodas, diabetes, kidneys and overweight

According to the  study (²), carried out by Epidemiologists from the School of Medicine of the Health Sciences Center of the University of Texas in San Antonio, they detected that a minimal but regular consumption of these sugar-free soft drinks, rich in carbon dioxide Carbon and various added substances, would damage the kidneys, teeth and, more generally, would create damage to the metabolism , thus promoting weight gain.

But there is more, explained Sharon Fowler, one of the researchers who has been dealing with this problem for some time, if you are overweight and drink soda “diet” drinks, there is an even greater risk of gaining weight.

Just one diet soda per day is enough to have a five times greater increase , and that the circumference of the abdomen increases in 10 years compared to those who do not drink anything, or who choose to drink water.

The metabolism is altered with the consumption of diet drinks

And the cause is in a particular metabolic process: our body associates it with the sweet taste of food. If the actual caloric intake is not as expected (because the drinks do not contain sugar), the body will notice it and will not burn the calories supplied.

The problem is that it will continue to do so, due to a kind of metabolic addiction, even when we eat or drink something really sweet and caloric. In practice, the consumption of sugar-free drinks makes the body get used to not burning calories, thus altering the metabolism.

Sweeteners in diet sodas are highly harmful to health

Not to mention that to replace sugar, these drinks use artificial sweeteners like aspartame (aspartame) and saccharin (saccharin), whose health concerns are now highlighted in various investigations .

In addition to their benefits, animal studies have convincingly shown that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer, and many other health hazards. Some types of health-related side effects, including carcinogenicity, are also seen in humans.

J Pharmacol Pharmacother 

But the foods that are harmful to the body, which are advertised as healthy, are not limited to diet drinks: all foods labeled as “high in fiber”, “enriched with vitamins” and “low in fat” are simply propaganda, which seems have immediate benefits, but are actually harmful in the long run.

Among the unhealthy drinks we also find flavored waters enriched with vitamins or mineral salts, or energy bars, which are full of sugars and with a very low percentage of vitamins.

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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