No calories, no sugar, no fat, no problem? Unfortunately not. According to a series of recent studies done on diet soda, the stuff can have some pretty adverse side effects on your health. From kidney problems to an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, these six scary side effects will make you want to kick the can for good.
1. Kidney chaos: In a study done at Harvard Medical School with more than 3,000 women over 11 years, data showed that drinking diet cola can increase your risk of kidney decline by a factor of two. Women in particular who drank two sodas a day experienced a decline in kidney function. And because the decline was not associated with sugar-sweetened sodas, researchers believe that synthetic sweeteners are to blame.
2. Metabolism mayhem: In a 2008 study of nearly 10,000 adults done by the University of Minnesota study, data suggested that even one diet soda a day is connected to a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, the symptoms of which can cause heart disease.
3. DNA Damage: Diet sodas contain mold inhibitors, a preservative you might have read on the ingredient label as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate. According to professor of molecular biology Peter Piper from the University of Sheffield in the U.K., “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it – they knock it out altogether”. And that’s not all—the preservative has also been connected to hives, asthma, and other allergic conditions, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
4. Tarnished teeth: Considering that water has a pH of 7 and diet soda has a pH of 3.2, diet soda is pretty acidic. The acid in soda dissolves tooth enamel; adults who drink three or more sodas a day have worse dental health, says a University of Michigan analysis of dental checkup data. Soda drinkers had far greater decay, more missing teeth, and more fillings.
5. Reduced Reproductive Ability: In this case, it’s not the soda that’s the problem but the container that it comes in. Soft drink cans are lined with the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to everything from heart disease to obesity to reproductive problems.
6. Diet deceit: In a study done by the University of Texas Health Science Center, data showed that the more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Drinking at least two cans a day increased the participants’ waistlines by 500%. The reason comes from that fact that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of foods, suggested an animal study from Purdue University. That means people who consume diet foods might be more likely to overeat, because your body is being tricked into thinking it’s eating sugar, and you crave more.
photo credit: cbs.com