I hate to be the bearer of bad news but obesity is on the rise! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69.2% of Americans are overweight or obese (2010 stat). This is staggering!!! One of the big culprits for this weight gain is an overconsumption of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. One might think then that the invention of diet soda is an answer to our prayers. After all, it contains almost no calories.
Let’s strip down the ingredients of a popular diet soda to see if it looks good naked.
Ingredients of Diet Coke:
Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.
As far as beverage manufacturers are concerned, the real star of diet soda is the artificial sweetener. It is the big differentiator between this product and it’s sugar filled sibling. It allows these companies to market their beverage as calorie-free and create a product to market to the large population of people interested in losing weight.
The artificial sweetener used in Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and many other diet soda’s is aspartame. Let’s first take a look at what aspartame is.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is made from protein by-products. They then add methanol which is a very toxic alcohol. Examples of other uses for methanol included paint thinner and fondu fuel. It’s probably no surprise that methanol is not something we want in our body. When it goes through our body, our liver changes it into formaldehyde. YIKES! Formaldehyde is ultra-toxic to the human body. Some studies have shown that it can affect our brain cells, vision, etc. Another use for formaldehyde is for embalming bodies. You might be asking yourself, why would a product that seems so harmful to our health be allowed in our food/beverage products? The reason is that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that consuming this product in the recommended doses causes significant enough harm to the human body in the short term. Meaning that our bodies are amazing and have the ability to handle this in small amounts. However, there also are no studies that show the cumulative effect of a lifetime of exposure. This is a scary thought since many people are consuming this product daily or even multiple times per day.
Aspartame and weight gain
In addition to the potential health problems associated with aspartame consumption, it may not even be that helpful at helping us lose weight!
A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonia found that people who drank both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas gained weight. However, they also found that diet soda drinkers were more likely to become obese. In addition, the more diet sodas the participants drank, the greater their weight gain. Consuming 2 or more cans per day increased waistlines by 500%. Although human studies of this nature are observational, animal studies have found the same effect.
Since diet soda contains almost no calories, experts believe that the sweet taste of the beverage tricks the body’s ability to properly regulate calorie intake. Therefore, the body senses that it is eating something sweet (something that contains calories) and prepares itself to manage it. When those calories never actually arrive the result if often increased cravings and overeating later on.
If you aren’t familiar with what a calorie is and why they are not only beneficial but essential for our health, check out this article here.
In addition soda leads to weak teeth and bones
Soda is EXTREMELY acidic. When we consume highly acidic foods in our diet our body needs to use buffering minerals to neutralize the body so it stays balanced. One of these buffering minerals is calcium. If need be, the body will pull calcium from the bones and teeth to ensure it maintains its pH balance. This can lead to tooth decay and osteoporosis.
Some experts suggest that caffeine in soda interferes with calcium absorption and can also lead to tooth and bone density problems.
Other research illustrates that diet cola consumption leads to increased concentrations of parathyroid hormone (PTH) which can lead to bone breakdown and calcium excretion. It is thought that this is because the cola contains phosphoric acid as an ingredient which when consumed in excess can lead to PTH production and the loss of calcium from bones.
Other potential health concerns
Yikes!! This product is not looking too hot! If wight gain and bone loss isn’t enough, there are many other potential health concerns that could dissuade you from grabbing for a can of diet soda. Experts suggest that it could increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. It is also suggested that it could cause kidney function decline.
In conclusion, diet soda doesn’t provide us with any necessary health benefits. In fact, it only offers real and suggested health problems.
If your health is of any concern to you I would recommend staying far away from this harmful beverage. Plus, if weight is of concern to you, don’t be tricked into thinking this will help. The companies are very sneaky at making us think that it’s cool to drink their beverages, that’s why they use celebrities like Taylor Swift in their commercials. They are selling you an image and an emotion, in addition to a product that kills the human body. Not really my idea of ‘cool’.
If you are bored of water and want new healthy ways to spruce up your beverages, check this out: Click Here.
I would love it if you could help me spread the word about the health problems associated with diet soda. You can use the social media links below to do this. I hope you enjoyed the read! Thanks for your help!!
“Image courtesy of TiveryLucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.