Friday, December 6, 2013

Perils Of Consuming Diet Soda

Diet soda has long been touted as a no-calorie replacement for traditional caloric colas. Studies are starting to show that it may not be such a good replacement after all. Diet soda is believed to have health risks for those who consume it. Several recent studies have shown that diet soda is linked to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Though the findings are mixed on the exact link, more studies will be done to analyze and decipher the link between diet soda and disease.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The risk factors included are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. From just one can of diet soda a day, the risk of developing high glucose levels and high waist measurements go up 36 percent, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Cardiovascular Disease

The group of risk factors for metabolic syndrome includes high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Because diet soda has been linked to an increase in metabolic syndrome, it also signals that the increase in these risk factors will affect cardiovascular health as well. According to Dr. Ramachandran Vasan of Boston University School of Medicine, your risk of developing heart disease or stroke doubles when you have metabolic syndrome.


In a study done by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH and her colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, the risk of obesity increased among diet soda drinkers compared to regular soda drinkers. For each can of diet soda consumed daily, the risk of obesity increased 41 percent. One theory suggested by nutrition expert Leslie Bonci, MPH is that by providing your body diet soda you are offering something that tastes like it should have calories but doesn't. Your body is able to pick up on this and begins to search for those calories, which may lead to cravings to fill that promised calorie deficit created by the diet soda.


According to the American Diabetes Association, just one can of diet soda a day can increase your risk of diabetes by 67 percent. This is compared to those that don't drink diet soda and was not related to body fat measurements. The study conducted by Jennifer A. Nettleton and colleagues was an attempt to learn more about the relationship between diet soda consumption and diabetes risk factors. The study followed 6,800 adults over the course of 5 years.

Overall Study Findings

Though the studies above all showed links between diet soda intake and the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, the American Diabetes Association reports that nobody really understands the relationship between the two. It's possible that it is related to unknown factors such as diet, exercise or family history. It can also be that the sweeteners used in diet soda may cause people to want more calorie-rich foods.

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