7 good reasons you really need to ditch your diet drink habit right now
When it comes to diet drinks, people tend to fall into two very distinct camps: Those who avoid them like the plague and those who love them and cannot get enough Diet Coke or Pepsi Max in their lives.
The thing is, if you belong to the latter camp, experts are now in increasingly large numbers telling you how bad these drinks really are for your health and why you need to quit now.
And while some are still living under the illusion that diet drinks are the healthier alternative because they don't contain sugar – and tend to be pretty much calorie free – don't let yourself be fooled. It's not as easy as no sugar, no problem, according to Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center.
"“Diet soda may be free of calories, but not of consequences," Hazuda explained to Well + Good. "These drinks have been known to cause a blood sugar spike in mice, and many studies also suggest that diet sodas many inhibit the signal that tells you when you’re full."
Oh, and it doesn't even end there. Here are five more (important-to-your-health) reasons you really should stick to water.
1. Diet drinks can alter your mood
The mood-food connection is ever-rising, and Aspartame (a very commonly used artificial sweetener which came into use by some very questionable political trickery back in the day) has been found to have the ability to really mess with the brains of people suffering from anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Oh, and did you know that Aspartame is also on the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of potentially dangerous chemicals contributing to neurotoxicity? Not really something you want to be ingesting, no?
2. Diet drinks mess with your skin
According to doctor and author of health- and wellness book Stop Aging, Start Living: The Revolutionary 2-Week pH Diet, Jeanette Graf, Diet Coke (and other diet drinks) lowers your pH levels, which has been known to cause acne, and also zap your skin of all its radiance.
Not good, in other words.
3. Diet drinks can mess with your fertility
Women who regularly consume diet soft drinks may be reducing their chances of getting pregnant, according to research.
A recent study of 524 patients found a link between artificial sweeteners, such as those used in “diet” sodas, and lower fertility rates, while use of sugar in soft drinks and added to coffee was associated with poorer quality of eggs and embryos.
Professor Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, said of the study: “This is a very interesting study that suggests the false promise of artificial sweeteners that are found in soft drinks and added to drinks, such as coffee, may have a significant effect on the quality and fertility of woman’s eggs and this may further impact on the chances of conception.
4. Diet drinks can make you fat
Ironic, isn't it? But two studies conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center confirmed that people who drank two or more diet drinks per day experienced their waist size increasing.
5. Diet drinks make your kidneys sluggish
If you want to stay healthy, it seems diet drinks are your worst enemy. According to a Harvard Nurse’s Health Study, these drinks also interfere with your kidneys, where research found that just two servings of diet soda each day could cause a whopping 30 percent drop in kidney function.
6. Diet drinks largely increase your risk of dementia and strokes
In a study from 2017, published online in Stroke in April last year, findings showed that consumption of just one can of diet soda or more each day was associated with a three times increased risk for stroke and dementia over a 10-year follow-up period compared with individuals who drank no artificially sweetened beverages.
"There are many studies now suggesting detrimental effects of sugary beverages, but I think we also need to consider the possibility that diet drinks may not be healthy alternatives," lead author, Matthew P. Pase, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News.
7. Diet drinks often contain Aspartame and this has been linked to cancer. A lot.
While Aspartame as per today is approved as an artificial sweetener, a whole host of studies and a substantial amount of data have shown it to have "strong links to cancer".
In the US, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) cautions against Aspartame because it is poorly tested and contains three well-known neurotoxins, and a reported study at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center found that Aspartame increased cancer risk if the exposure begins in the womb.
Something to think about before you pour your next glass, no?