Last week I wrote about the health effects of drinking whole versus fat free milk. Many people are left wondering, “what should I drink?”
“Should I choose diet soda?” you may ask. In general, diet soda is not a healthier alternative to most other drinks. Although they contain few calories, their adverse health effects make them an unhealthy alternative to most other drinks.
Drinking only one diet soda day may actually increase your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes by 36%. Metabolic syndrome is a grouping of conditions including obesity, hypertension, elevated glucose and cholesterol levels. These all put people at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Artificial sweeteners may actually cause us to crave more sugar and dull our senses to naturally sweet foods. Artificial sweeteners further may trigger insulin release which leads to fat storage.
Increased frequency of headaches and depression are associated with regular diet soda consumption as well. it appears that brain condition such as dementia stroke and cognitive decline are associated with diet sodas as well. It is not known for sure why they increase the risks of these diseases. It is most likely multifactorial. It may damage blood vessels directly, cause chronic inflammation, or it may be secondary to the unhealthy habits that tend to go along with diet sodas, such as craving sweets or a feeling that you can eat less healthy because you’re drinking a calorie free drink.
When in doubt, choose water!