Diet soda is the go-to drink type for many of us. Diet soda consumption is especially popular in obese and diabetic populations. It has artificial sweeteners that replace the natural sugar that traditional soda contains, leading it to have a small number of calories and seem ‘healthy’.
Here at Moose Pharmacy, we took a deep dive into the research surrounding diet beverages, so that the next time you crack open a crisp, diet soda, you will have some new information to consider!
We found some shocking research: In older adults, a study revealed that diet soda consumption is associated with abdominal obesity. The study participants who consumed diet soda saw a significant increase in waist circumference!3 Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, stimulate the appetite. Long term research found that diet soda consumption might be linked to weight gain.
The weight gain seen was most commonly in female and obese populations. One source predicted that drinking artificial sweeteners multiple times per week throws off the body’s anticipatory responses for sugar; this is important because once real sugar is consumed, the body is not able to efficiently metabolize it.
Over time, as sugar is not metabolized correctly, this causes baseline blood sugar levels rise. This can lead to severe consequences; diet soda could indirectly lead to the development of diabetes! For those who are already diagnosed with diabetes, there are more risks. For example, a study revealed that drinking four diet sodas per week doubles the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy, which is a serious eye condition that usually includes vision loss.
This leaves us with the question, should you still drink diet soda?
It is a handy tool to satisfy a sugar craving or to prevent your blood glucose from spiking once every now and then. Yet, over time, the repetitive consumption of diet soda likely leads to weight gain, increased baseline blood sugar levels, and other problems.
So, diet soda is fine if you drink it in moderation, but, for long-term use, diet soda is not the innocent, healthy drink option that you might believe it to be.