I read an article about a man who lost part of his skull due to the consumption of many energy drinks. Although it was exactly diet coke, many people in the comments section feared that the same effects may happen to them since diet coke contains huge amounts of sugar in form of artificial sweeteners and other ingredients.
It is however thought that diet coke is healthier than regular coke and many people feel comfortable consuming diet coke. But is it healthy as it is thought to be?
Reasons why people choose diet coke over regular coke.
What makes diet coke sound like a better option is the fact that it has fewer calories and sugar compared to regular coke. Diet coke has artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame-k, or sucralose instead of sugar.
The health risks of diet coke are associated with the huge amounts of sugar they contain. On average, diet coke can have around 10.6 g of sugar per 100ml. This means that from a 330ml can of diet coke you are likely to consume around 35 g of sugar. It’s typically an overdose since a human body requires around 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women of sugar from your overall daily food intake. Now imagine what taking more than a can of diet soda in a day can do to your body.
The US dietary guidelines advise people to take less than 10% of their calorie intake from sugar. This means that a person on a 2000 calories diet should consume about 50 grams of sugar (12.5 teaspoons).
You may run away from the calories but the sugar in these drinks will catch up. Many people opt for diet soda to avoid gaining weight by consuming calories in regular coke.
Although the sugars in regular coke sound overwhelming, the difference with those contained in diet coke isn’t much different. The difference lies in the fewer or no calories that diet coke has.
Read more: What are the sugar alternatives you can use?
Is diet soda bad for you?
According to Mayor clinic, ”Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, such as a can or two, isn’t likely to hurt you. The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there’s no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer.”
In fact, diet coke has some vitamins and minerals added to it to make it healthier.
It should however be noted that diet coke is a not super healthy drink or weight loss magic pill and if consumed in huge amounts it will pose health risks to the body.
A lot of artificial ingredients are added to diet cokes such as preservatives (potassium benzoate), flavors, acids, sweeteners, and caffeine. It is a known fact that the more artificial ingredients are added to food the more it becomes unhealthy.
1. Diet coke’s effect on weight.
Diet coke is calorie-free and it is thought to aid weight loss. It is partially true since to gain weight one must consume more calories than he/she burns.
However, many researchers have found out that the artificial sweeteners used in diet coke and drinking huge amounts of diet soda increase the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
From another research, it was found out that consumption of diet soda increased appetite by stimulating the hunger hormones. As it is with other sugary foods, taking diet coke can increase cravings for sugary foods and you may end up consuming a lot of other calories from other foods that don’t diet coke.
Some studies prove that replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with diet soda can help lose weight. Since diet coke is calorie-free it is a better alternative for sweetened drinks that are filled with calories. This helps to reduce your calorie intake thus weight loss when the body can burn all the calories that you consume.
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2. Diet coke is linked to diabetes.
From research, it was found out that artificially sweetened beverages increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8-13%.
From another study, however, it was discovered that diet soda wasn’t associated with the risk of diabetes. Diet coke has no sugar, fat, or calories that are linked to the development of diabetes.
With such contradicting researches and results, it is not known whether diet coke can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. Increased risk of kidney disease.
Diet coke is high in phosphorous which increases the acid in the kidneys leading to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease.
From a recent study, it was found that the risk of developing kidney disease increased with the number of glasses of diet coke consumed per week.
People who consumed less than a glass per week had fewer chances of getting kidney disease compared to people who consumed more than 7 glasses of diet coke per week who had a doubled risk of developing kidney disease.
4. Dental erosion.
Diet soda is associated with dental erosion and tooth decay due to its acid PH. Diet soda can cause cavities and visible tooth decay most especially when consumed regularly.
When diet coke encounters the tooth enamel it reduces its hardness. After the enamel is damaged, diet coke can go to damage cavities which leads to a lot of damage to the teeth.
5. Diet coke is linked to depression.
Recent studies have found out that consumption of diet sodas is associated with increased depression. People who drink four or more .
Have you read it? The link between depression and weight loss including weight management tips for depressed people
6. Diet coke may be addictive.
People who take diet coke can become addicted to it over time. Dopamine and glutamate are released by the brain in response to the consumption of caffeine and aspartame found in diet coke.
These chemicals make the brain crave diet coke over and over again for the body to feel the sense of joy which grows into an addiction over time.
Additionally, a person who takes diet coke will crave more diet coke and sweet snacks.
7. Increased risk of osteoporosis.
Regular consumption of diet coke can lead to a reduced bone density especially in women. The caffeine and phosphorous in diet coke can interfere with calcium absorption. With ineffective calcium absorption, the body may not be able to get calcium from the body that is required to keep the bones strong and healthy.
According to a study, soft drinks consumption was associated with an increased risk of fracturing.
8. Preterm delivery and childhood obesity.
Women who take diet coke are more likely to deliver babies before the 37th week which is less than the normal 40 weeks.
A study was done in Norway on 60,761 pregnant women, those that took artificially sweetened and sugar-containing drinks had an 11% higher risk 0f preterm delivery.
However, the Norwegian and other similar studies do not explain how diet coke and other related drinks can contribute to preterm birth.
Additionally, the consumption of artificial sweeteners as those in diet coke while pregnant is associated with increased childhood obesity as seen in this study.
From a study, it was found out that daily consumption of diet drinks during pregnancy doubled the risk of producing an overweight baby.
Reasons why you should choose diet coke over regular coke.
Weight loss friendly: Diet coke has no calories. When compared with regular coke, diet coke is much safer for people who are trying to limit their calorie intake. It can be a great alternative to calorie-packed beverages such as juices.
No acid reflux: diet coke has been able to reduce and improve acid reflux or heartburn after meals.
Reduces fatty liver: unlike regular coke, the consumption of diet coke can help reduce fat around the liver.
The bottom line.
Diet Coke is a lot healthier than regular coke. However, in pursuit of health, diet coke isn’t the best drink you should choose. Some drinks have fewer chemicals, more nutrients, and fewer health risks. Such drinks are water, naturally made juice, and many others.
If the reason you are choosing to drink diet coke is because of weight loss, then you are wasting time. You can do better than that by choosing healthy eating and doing exercises to burn calories.