Diet drinks seemed like such a good idea…right? The flavor and enjoyment of your favorite soda without all of those calories and the added sugar that comes with drinking a soda, it seemed like such a great concept. If one happened to be a diabetic, it’s even better because you get all of that PLUS not make my condition worse! It’s a win….right? Wrong! Many studies in the last 10 years are linking diet sodas to lots of different health problems, including heart attack, diabetes and even obesity. But a recent study published in the journal Stroke, found that people who consumed one diet soda daily were 300% more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke (the kind of stroke where a blood vessel has a plug or blockage). In 2012, another study demonstrated a much smaller risk or 30% but this time for typically less common hemorrhagic stroke (the kind of stroke where a blood vessel ruptures/leaks and then bleeds) Compounding the scary results of this 2017 study was the elevated risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, too. This wasn’t a small elevated risk either….but fully another 300% increased risk of developing the disease when compared to people who drank one diet soda each week rather than daily. The current research is simply the latest in a pretty long line of studies demonstrating problems with diet soda consumption. Three different studies published in 2007 and 2009 demonstrated between a 30 and 55% increased risk of Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome (a group of conditions putting us at increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease). Two other studies in 2012 added to these findings and showed an increased risk of death from all causes, elevated stroke risk and a 45% elevation of heart attack risk! Yikes!
So the idea of the diet soda seemed like a good one….but the as the old saying goes….”the proof is in the pudding”. The associated health risks simply show this isn’t the case. Even risk of increased obesity, one of the very reasons people drink diet sodas, is notable in the body of research data. If that isn’t depressing enough, depression is another potential by product of diet soda consumption. Interestingly, one artificial doesn’t seem to be better than the other and they all appear to have associated problems but of different types. The data of cause and effect for specific artificial sweeteners simply isn’t out there yet.
So what’s really the take away from all of this? Drink regular soda??? No…We already know there appreciable risks with that…but simply to drink either one in limited quantity (one or two a week) would be okay. The optimal concept would be to drink water to hydrate….but who would dream of that?