Maintenance of the body weight is necessary for the majority of the people throughout the world due to many factors. Looking out for weight is fundamental for the purpose of having a better physical appearance as well as to stay healthy.
Being overweight or obese leading to several health complications including diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, fluctuating blood pressure is common knowledge among the people.
With the rise in the prevalence of obesity, many people have equally switched to healthier lifestyles avoiding most of what is considered the biggest contributor to weight gain. For example, abandoning processed foods, trans-saturated fats, and any foods with preservatives like nitrites is now a well-known practice.
Avoiding sugar has been particularly done more often than the others. Since sugar, according to the studies, contains absolutely no nutrients and is linked to some of the most dangerous or even fatal diseases is commonly suggested to be avoided.
Cutting sugar from your diet can, in fact, be very useful. Researchers have shown that gradual weight gain in healthy weighing adults is usually because of foods are eaten out of sugar cravings. Sugar tends to hold higher calories and digests very quickly.
Consequently, even if a person eats a small candy or one bar of chocolate, it is equal to consuming one whole standard size Indian flatbread.
Although this move is appreciable, a lot of people tend to make mistakes and follow some of the myths related to healthy diet or clean eating. One of the products that contain the highest amount of sugar is soda.
Carbonated drinks contain a whopping amount of 6-7 tablespoons of sugar per one standard sized bottle and are consumed by a large amount of the population. Naturally, people who are leaving sugar tend to make cutting soda out their priority.
One of the myths related to cutting sugar and lessening soda is that the offered alternatives can help. Diet sodas gained popularity right after their launch. Such sodas are claimed to have ‘low sugar’ rates and are often labeled ‘zero calories’.
But is there any evidence backing up the product’s claims of being healthy?
The answer is no. Contrary to the popular belief, diet soda is equally bad for health as regular soda is. A study conducted at Purdue concluded that diet soda or any artificially sweetened products should be avoided as much as regular ones.
What does Diet Soda do to Your Body?
Recently, there have been numerous studies showing the harmful effects of artificial sugar intake.30% of the adults along with 15% of the children in the United States alone tend to have artificial sweeteners in their diet.
Some of the most common substitutes seen in the aisles of supermarkets are sucrose, saccharin, and aspartame. All of these tend to increase chances of sugar-related health issues and cause additional problems such as metabolic syndrome.
This is because artificial sweeteners are perplexing for the body. The body’s ability to handle calories upon the taste of sugars messes up when aspartame or sucrose is taken instead of the original sugar.
Cravings for sugary and other foods hence still continues to happen. A person taking diet soda is still likely to overeat.
In addition to this, diet soda is linked to various types of health complications. Some of these conditions are:
Renal function damage
According to studies conducted at Harvard, diet sodas on a regular basis can be harmful to your kidneys. Though regular soda has a similar effect on renal health, diet soda showed a faster damage to kidneys.
The patients studied under the research at Harvard were regular diet soda drinkers and showed a 30% more than a normal reduction of kidney function while aging than regular soda drinkers.
Consequently, the kidney upon consumption of artificial sugar gets confused just like rest of the organs of the body and its metabolism.
The danger of Type 2 Diabetes
Since diet soda is frequently believed to have no sugar that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is a widespread belief that using diet soda instead of the regular one will lower the risks of developing it at any age.
In accordance with a study in the journal Diabetes Care, replacing regular soda with diet soda showed a 36% higher rate of metabolic syndrome and a whopping 64% increase in the chances of type 2 diabetes, debunking the myth of ‘sugar-free’ benefit.
Secondly, the study indicated that the connections between the brain and processes in the gut were disturbed to a great extent using diet soda.
Such effects of diet soda can even lead to metabolic disarrangements. In fact, the researchers found that common sugar replacements altered gut bacteria increasing the chances of gut-related diseases greatly.
In the tests on mice, many of them developed glucose intolerance after being injected with artificial sweeteners.
A research carried out by Columbia University observed people from various ages who drank diet soda in place of regular soda for 10 years showed that nearly all of the people included in the observation developed a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, people from older age groups, specifically the ones who crossed 30 were shown to experience a higher number of heart attacks and strokes in comparison with regular soda drinkers.
The most significant thing in the study was many of the people in the study exercised, had a mild sodium intake and maintained proper weight. All of these are considered big contributors to heart-related diseases.
People who are heavy soda drinkers and consume about 2-3 cans of soda regularly are prone to a higher risk of depression and mental health complications. However, in comparison with diet soda, recent studies have claimed the risk is doubled and the change offers no help.
COPD and Asthma
Lungs are the organs that are considered not to be affected by both soda and diet soda according to a majority of the people. Whereas other organs such as the kidneys and heart have much more complications because of the both, a person can develop the higher risk of asthma and COPD symptoms.
The claim is backed by an Australian study that found nearly 43% of the people having asthma drank two cans of diet soda on a daily basis while 15.4% the ones with COPD drank at least one glass a day.
The antioxidant system in Brains
Perhaps the most adverse effect of drinking diet soda is the destruction of brain’s antioxidant defense system. The main research conducted on this is the long-term use of aspartame which is a common sugar alternative on the brain.
It showed that aspartame imbalanced the brain’s pro-oxidant status through the disruption of the glutathione-dependent system. The symptoms of chipping away of antioxidant defense are fairly common such as headaches which can sometimes be felt right after having 2-3 cans of diet soda.
Aspartame has also been linked to other complications in the brain. Some of those are:
- A migraine
- Brain Tumors
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Short-term memory loss
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Hearing Loss
- Birth defects
- Chemical sensitivities
- Parkinson’s disease
What can You do?
There is no present alternative that can also be healthy at the same time. When trying to avoid soda, go step by step to reducing the daily consumption, like going from 2 cans to 1 can or having one glass in three days except having it regularly.
Do not make the mistake of switching to diet soda, as the aforementioned effects might occur. Another solution to this is to try drinking other drinks you can make at home or buy which are far less dangerous.
However, check if the ingredients are safe when having any other health conditions.