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Convincing Health Reasons to Stop Drinking Diet Soda

min read

By Catherine Roberts

Medically Reviewed by Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

You’ve finally realized that all of that soda drinking—even though you drink diet soda—isn’t good for your health. Diet soda, despite being lower in calories, is linked to all sorts of health woes, including migraine headaches, weight gain, bone deterioration, and the development of type 2 diabetes.

That means that putting a stop to the diet soda sipping will have the opposite effect—boosting your health in these six ways…

Reduce Diabetes Risk

Numerous studies already link drinking a few diet sodas each day to a heightened risk of diabetes. In fact, a research study published by Diabetes Care, an American Diabetes Association (ADA) journal, explains that drinking diet soda triggers the release of the fat-storing hormone linked to diabetes.

The Diabetes Care study identified what they call a “great paradox,” or why folks continue to gain weight even when they make the swap from full sugar soda to diet soda. Researchers from the study note that adults who drank more than one diet soda a day release excess hormone, which results in loss of blood sugar control, and eventual diabetes within a 7-year time frame.

Boost Bone Strength

If you’re prone to bone fractures and osteoporosis laying off the soda may boost your overall bone strength. According to an osteoporosis study conducted by Framingham State University, in Massachusetts, diet colas, unlike other carbonated beverages, were found to cause low bone mineral density in the hips of older women.

The study took X-rays of the bone mineral density (BMD) in the areas of the spine as well as three areas of the hip in 1413 women and 1125 men. Findings showed that those who consumed cola had a lower BMD. In addition, colas (both diet and non-diet) contain caffeine and phosphoric acid, which researchers claim negatively impact bone health.

Enhance Kidney Function

You likely already know that your kidneys are largely responsible for eliminating all sorts of nasty toxins from the body. Look at the ingredients list on the back of a can of diet cola and you can imagine the many artificial sweeteners that your body has to deal with each time you down a can (i.e., Aspartame, Splenda, and Sucralose).

According to a research study presented at the American Society of Nephrology, in San Diego, women who slurped two or more diet sodas each day suffered a 30-percent reduction in overall kidney function. Experts from Harvard Medical School point out that the 3, 256 women study participants had perfectly healthy kidney function at the beginning of the study.

Make Better Food Choices

I worked at Burger King all through high school and I always found it interesting that folks who ordered diet soda off the menu also tended to choose the highest fat and calorie food options from the menu. As it turns out, this wasn’t a coincidence, but proven behavior with a scientific explanation.

Heather Bainbridge, a Registered Dietitian with Columbia University’s Medical Center Weight Control Center, explains that people use the “no calorie” excuse when drinking diet soda to indulge on unhealthy food choices (i.e., fries, sweets, cake, fatty snack foods, and burgers), which can quickly develop into an unhealthy and addictive junk food habit.

Banish Migraines

You can almost guarantee a few days of headaches when you stop drinking coffee. However, quitting diet soda has quite the opposite effect according to a research review published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to the review quitting diet soda drinking will give your brain a break from artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, which literally alter the brain’s reward signals, impact brain chemicals, and even damage nerve endings in the cerebellum—causing all sorts of jitters, headaches, and even disrupting sleep patterns. Luckily, quitting soda will repair this damage.

Reduced Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

While many folks unknowingly make the switch to diet soda to promote weight loss, research from American Diabetes Association (ADA) says you’re honestly better off without diet soda completely. A study published by Diabetics Care, an ADA publication, links diet soda to increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

The study not only showed that diet soda drinkers increased rates of high blood pressure—scientists also point out that drinking diet soda daily is tied to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

MS, RDN, CDCES

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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