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I’m not going to lie. I’d take a Coca-Cola over a Pepsi any day (sorry Penn State), but when it comes to the diet versions of each of these drinks, I always find myself at a stand still. The word “diet” is fascinating and appealing to me. Like almost every young woman, I want to look and feel my best, so I’m always looking for food and drinks with the most flavor and least amount of calories. But how healthy is this diet soda that one fifth of Americans age two and up drink every day (Centers)?
The answer is: not very.
Before I get into why diet soda is actually pretty bad for you, it’s important to know what the differences are between the two drinks. A regular soda consists of flavoring, carbonated water, and corn syrup or sugar, while the diet sodas switch out the sugar for zero calorie artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and stevia (BuiltLean).
The problems don’t lie within the carbonation or the flavoring, but rather the artificial sweetener. When the body receives the artificial sweetener, it’s tricked into thinking it’s receiving real sugar and it doesn’t know how to react. In an article from CNN Health, Susan Swithers, a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, explained that the problem with consumption of real sugar after artificial sweetener is that, “your body doesn’t know if it should try to process it because it’s been tricked by the fake sugar so many times (Study)“. This becomes a problem because the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure isn’t released.
This leads to an even longer list of health problems. According to MSN’s Healthy Living, drinking diet soda can lead to kidney problems, a faulty metabolism, obesity, cell damage, rotting teeth, and much, much more (7 Side).
What does this mean then for every other food and drink that has some artificial sweetener incorporated in its lower caloric deliciousness? Have we strayed so far from natural products that we are now trading in lower calories in one meal for a shorter life span due to the complications attached to it?
So, think twice the next time you pick up a diet soda. It may just be worth the few extra calories.
BuiltLean. “Is Diet Soda Healthy or Harmful?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Mar. 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/builtlean/diet-and-nutrition_b_4837038.html>.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db109.htm>.
“Study: Diet Soda May Do More Harm than Good.” The Chart RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/10/diet-soda-may-do-more-harm-than-good/>.
“7 Side Effects of Drinking Diet Soda.” MSN Healthy Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/7-side-effects-of-drinking-diet-soda>.