Diet Soda: Is it Better for You?

Over the years, we have heard more and more about how bad sugar is for you. There are numerous new studies informing us of the negative, and potentially very dangerous, effects that sugar has on our bodies, and for those of us who love drinking regular soda, this can be a problem.


But, what about diet soda and the artificial sweeteners that make it taste sweet?


Consuming diet soda is thought to be a better alternative to drinking regular soda. For those monitoring diabetes, the artificial sweeteners in diet soda could allow those to enjoy a sweet drink without causing blood sugar levels to rise. However, some studies have indicated that artificial sweeteners can play a negative role in a person’s health in other ways.


According to the article “Sugar Substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits,” a 2005 study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found that diet drinks could actually increase the likelihood of weight gain or obesity. The study discovered that those who consumed diet sodas were more likely to gain weight than those who drink regular sodas. When consuming the diet sodas, the body did not create a rise in insulin, thus, allowing hypoglycemia to be present and the desire to increase food intake (Dr. Tandel).


Other studies have mentioned that artificial sweeteners could be harmful to our bodies. The article “Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes,” mentions that saccharin was once thought to cause cancer in humans due to a study conducted on rats. However, the National Cancer Institute found that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that shows that saccharin could cause cancer in humans. Other studies also found that it was safe to consume in limited amounts (Mayo Clinic).


Possible benefits of artificial sweeteners include the following:

  • Weight control: low in calories
  • Diabetes: doesn’t raise blood sugar levels (Mayo Clinic)

It’s important to be aware of the ingredients in your food and beverage choices, and to learn about each ingredient’s components, so that you can make informed decisions about what you choose to put in your body.


To learn more about artificial sweeteners and other type of sugar substitutes, such as sugar alcohols, please visit the websites to the sources below.

Sources:

“Pros and Cons of Artificial Sweeteners.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Oct. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936.

Tandel, Kirtida R. “Sugar Substitutes: Health Controversy over Perceived Benefits.” Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, Medknow Publications Pvt Ltd, Oct. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198517/#:~:text=A%20sugar%20substitute%20(artificial%20sweetener,and%20many%20other%20health%20hazards.