Recently it seems that all I’ve been hearing is people complaining about needing to go on diets and eating healthier. As my friend reaches for a Diet Pepsi I can’t help but wonder if that is a good choice. I mean I’ve always heard people say that diet soda is actually bad for you but I’ve never known for sure. So I figured why not write a blog on it?
Here’s what I do know—or at least have heard:
For those who don’t know, diet sodas contain zero calories which is why people tend to flock to them thinking they are the healthier choice. Yes, this may sound like it is good for you but don’t be fooled. The truth is that they are filled with terrible chemicals used to sweeten the drink (instead of sugar). Some of these include aspartame, sucralose, cyclamate, phosphoric acid—and that’s just to name a few. If you’re reading that past sentence and thinking WTF do any of those words mean, they are artificial sweeteners that can contribute to numerous health risks. But is any of this actually true??
A study was done based on diet soda consumption followed up by examinations to test for type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The results of this was that the consumption of diet soda was associated with a 67% greater risk of type 2 Diabetes and 36% greater risk of metabolic syndrome (as opposed to not drinking diet soda). Notice the word “associated” was used!! If there is one thing that stands out that Andrew taught us it’s that correlation does not equal causation. According to the study it turns out that there is not enough data to support that these diet sodas actually cause these health defects.
In addition to this, an article posted from Harvard’s school of public health mentions that in 2011 the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association were not able to make an exact conclusion on the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda due to an “insufficient” amount of data.
FYI In case you’re like me and don’t know what Metabolic Syndrome is: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines Metabolic Syndrome as factors closely related to obesity or being overweight that put those at risk of heart disease, diabetes and even stroke.
I set out on this blog thinking that I would find tons of evidence highlighting the dangers of diet soda with definite conclusions. Little did I know that, although there are associations, there is no set proof that diet sodas are the cause of health risks like type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome. After some of our pop quizzes Andrew has asked if the studies were convincing enough to have us change the way we do a specific thing in our daily lives. In this case, the research was not enough to make people stop drinking diet soda all together. This case was unable to inspire a definite life change in drinking diet soda but if you are in a similar situation to me with friends trying to diet, maybe try suggesting water, eliminating the choice of soda as a whole, diet or not.