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I know you’ve heard it: “Diet soda is bad for you.” I’d heard it too, but for awhile I turned a blind eye. At the time, I was minding my business following a low carb diet. Therefore “sugar free” diet sodas seemed like a good option at the time.
After all, I wasn’t having refined sugar, and it was low carb. What damage could some diet soda do?
A lot. A lot of damage, as it turns out. Though I’d significantly decreased my diet soda intake over the past couple of years, I knew I needed to completely kick the habit. So I decided to take a deep dive down the rabbit hole to find the truth about diet soda and artificial sweeteners.
After some eye-opening research, I’m here to tell you that if you’re a habitual diet soda drinker (or even an occasional one) – you need to break the habit – right now.
Why is diet soda bad for you?
There have been a variety of different observational studies conducted, both short & long-term, on the effects of drinking diet soda. According to an article published by uclahealth.org about the findings from a group of these studies, these artificially sweetened drinks can lead to some major adverse health effects, including:
“…weight gain, disruptions to gut health, cardiovascular problems and an increased craving for sweets. More recently, studies have linked the diet soda habit to an increased risk of stroke.”uclahealth.org
Wow. So, pump the brakes a second here –
- A majority of people who drink diet soda are trying to avoid weight gain, or lose weight by drinking diet soda…but it’s been linked to weight gain.
- Diet soda can disrupt gut health, and if you haven’t been living under a rock the past several years, you know that gut health is responsible for much of our overall health. Poor gut health leads to a multitude of other health issues.
- Diet soda can lead to cardiovascular problems, AND
- Increase your risk of having a stroke
So why are we drinking this junk?! Or, better question: why has diet soda been promoted as a healthier alternative to regular soda when it clearly isn’t?
Truthfully, that last question is a subject for a different day. So let’s talk about what’s actually in most diet sodas.
What ingredients in diet soda are bad for you?
While you can easily do a good old Google search for your diet soda’s extensive ingredients list, there are some key ingredients that I want to point out here – and these are commonly found in a majority of diet sodas. These ingredients are ones with known adverse effects:
- Caramel Color
- Phosphoric Acid
- Potassium Benzoate
- Citric Acid
- “Natural Flavors”
I could go on a deep dive of concerning information on all of these ingredients, but the big one we should be looking at here is Aspartame.
What is Aspartame, and why is it bad for you?
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in diet sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks. It’s often used in place of refined sugar so that “diet” drinks and foods can boast a low or zero calorie count, tricking you into thinking that it’s healthy.
But it’s not. It’s a chemical that can cause widespread damage in the body, & after looking into what aspartame actually is, it’s easy to see why:
“Aspartame (known as E 951 in the European Union) is a synthetic chemical composed of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, with a methyl ester. When consumed, the methyl ester breaks down into methanol, which may be converted into formaldehyde.”US Right To Know
Well, would you look at that – aspartame breaks down into methanol, which “may be converted into formaldehyde.”
Yes. Formaldehyde. What they use to embalm dead bodies with.
Just what I want floating around in my body…not.
The Ugly Truth: Studies have linked some very concerning health issues with diet soda and aspartame consumption
Aspartame has been around awhile so there have been enough studies, both long & short-term, to determine that aspartame is dangerous to our health.
Per the U.S. Right To Know website, these studies have linked aspartame & other artificial sweeteners to all kinds of health issues, including:
- Brain tumors
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease & dementia
- Neurotoxicity, & brain damage
- Headaches & migraines
- Mood disorders
- Weight gain / Obesity
- Liver Disease
- Kidney function decline
- & more
The list just goes on and on – and the findings become more and more alarming as you move from study to study. I highly recommend you check out the full article I’m referencing here.
I know I’m going to get attacked on this one, so let’s just clear the air right now.
Some people might say: “Well they don’t use aspartame in my diet soda – they use Splenda now.”
Newsflash, pal. A chemical is still a chemical. Slapping a different name on it isn’t going to change that.
Here’s a starter list of artificial sweeteners & ingredients masquerading as “safer than aspartame” (when they’re essentially the same thing or even worse):
Artificial Sweeteners To Avoid
- Sweet N’ Low
- Necta Sweet
- Sugar Twin
- Sweet 10
- Sweet One
- Sweet & Safe
Additional Artificial Sweetener Ingredients to Avoid
- Acesulfame K (aka Ace K, or ACE)
- Acelsufame Potassium (this is aspartame, and it’s also known as APM or Aspartyl phenylalanine methyl ester)
SUMMARY: Avoid diet sodas (and artificial sweeteners in general) as much as you possibly can
That “one little soda can’t hurt” mentality really does add up in the long run – in pounds, & in health issues.
This information wasn’t gathered to try to scare you. It’s meant to wake you up to what’s really going on here. Blindly trusting corporations, news outlets (that are all owned by the same few groups of people, by the way), & falsified studies over the years has cost too many people their health – and eventually their lives.
WAKE UP. Ask questions. Dig deeper than what the “news” tells you. There are a lot of unsavory things that have been normalized right under our noses. We owe it to ourselves and all future generations to stop the madness.
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