Diet Soda is better for you…isn’t it?

Many people consume diet soda instead of regular cola because they believe it is better for them. I mean it has fewer calories and doesn’t contain sugar so this “theory” seems logical right? Not once you investigate the facts of diet sodas.  Regular cola contains sugar usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup and about 150 calories per 12 ounce can. Diet saves you the 150 calories while drinking the cola, yet diet soda is more frequently linked to obesity than regular soda!

So how is it possible that consuming a diet beverage would cause you to gain more weight? The answer is actually not complex at all.  When you begin to consume food or beverage your body predicts the caloric intake based on taste and texture, and when the prediction is not delivered to your body it stimulates your appetite. Furthermore, when drinking a diet soda that has artificial sweeteners (most often aspartame) your body is expecting sugar and produces an incorrect insulin response because it thinks it needs to breakdown sugars. This is also why artificial sweeteners increase cravings for sugary flavored sweets.  People who consume diet beverages actually have a 41%increased risk of obesity. Metabolic syndrome caused from soda consumption also increases this risk.  Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that include excess weight in the waist, lower levels of good cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Weight gain is not the only issue that needs to be addressed from diet cola consumption. The artificial sweetener itself poses health risk.  As stated above the most common artificial sweetener in diet beverages is aspartame (APM). Aspartame is 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol. Phenylalanine is an amino acid when not in combination with other amino acids and stored for a long period of time, it becomes a carcinogen. Carcinogens cause cancer. Aspartic acid has been linked to holes in the brain, as well as, brain tumors. Methanol when stored in cool temperatures turns into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used for embalming.  Some side effects linked to aspartame are seizures, headaches, stomach disorders, memory loss, and in some cases even death. Aspartame is found in over 6,000 products on the market today. I check all my labels before purchase!

To put the icing on the cake, just like with regular soda, diet soda causes osteoporosis. When you develop osteoporosis your bones become fragile and porous, making you more susceptible to fracture. Soda has even been connected to osteoporosis in teens, causing them to be 35-50% more likely to suffer from fractures! Plus, between 40-60% of peak bone mass is built during the teen years. So the best advice is to avoid soda all together. If you are going to indulge in an occasional soda pop open a regular soda and skip the diet!

By Mattingly Chiropractic, July 14, 2013