Why Diet Soda is Bad for You

Artificial sugars, caffeine, phenylalanine, preservatives - diet sodas don't offer anything good, and they may pose a health threat.

You are likely already aware of the myriad of reasons why soda is bad for you but you might wonder about diet soda. It seems logical that if you cut out the calories in soda, then it shouldn't be unhealthy. That, sadly, isn't the case. Calories aren't the only issue with sodas, and zero calorie doesn't equal healthy. Dr Oz agrees, and has issued his 28-day National Soda Challenge starting today to get the nation off soda and on health.

diet soda bad for you


There is nothing good or nutritious in diet soda. Just as regular soda offers nothing but empty calories, diet soda offers just plain nothing. Why waste your time and valuable stomach space for no benefit when you could instead have skim milk, juice, or water. Calcium, vitamins, and hydration area all much more important than a sweet fix.

According to livstrong.com, drinking just one diet soda a day can have health consequences. Many diet sodas contain phenylalanine, an amino acid that can be dangerous to those who suffer from phenylketonuria. If you have this disease, you shouldn't drink diet sodas or many other protein-rich foods because the body cannot process phenylalanine.

The Mayo Clinic has said that artificial sweeteners can trigger increased sugar cravings. Just as regular sodas can change the drinker's taste choices so that non-sweetened foods seem bland, diet sodas can have the same effect. Dr. David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, a Harvard professor and Founding Director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) clinic at Children’s Hospital, Boston, says that diet sodas may be even worse because artificial sweeteners are three times as sweet as natural sugars. They may encourage poor food choices in other areas because the drinker feels they are saving on calories by having diet soda.

Diet sodas still put your health at risk. Adults who drank just one or more a day may face a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, kidney stones and chronic kidney disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic says there is data suggesting a link between diet soda and heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes. The author of the study says that diet soda drinkers tend to follow diets high in fat and sugar and low in fiber. Their lifestyles tend to be sedentary so these factors may have more to do with the heart disease risk than diet soda consumption.

Finally, a study presented at The American Society of Nephrology's annual Renal Week conference suggests that diet soda consumption may be linked to kidney problems. In data collected from 730 diabetic women as part of a larger study. Looking at data supplied at 3 points over 6 years, the women said how often they consumed sugar-sweetened beverages or artificially sweetened sodas. Researchers also looked at blood tests they'd performed 11 years apart, specifically concentrating on kidney function. They adjusted for age, diet, and lifestyle factors like smoking, and found that women who drank more than two diet sodas per day doubled their risk for kidney damage.

Stick to what's natural and healthy when it comes to food and drink. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and caffeine for your best health.