Diet soda: what’s not to love? You get flavor and hydration, all for zero calories. But evidence suggests that diet pop might be too good to be true for health-conscious dieters. Consider these 4 reasons why you may want to avoid diet soda.
1. It Weakens Your Bones
One ingredient in many diet sodas is phosphoric acid. This acid helps promote sodas’ carbonation – the neat little fizzy bubbles. Unfortunately, it also causes your body to excrete calcium from your bloodstream at a faster than normal rate. As your body tries to keep the rate of bloodstream calcium constant, it leeches calcium from your bones to compensate, thus leading to higher risk of osteoporosis or its forerunner, osteopenia.
Similarly, the caffeine found in many diet sodas can also leech calcium from your bones.
2. It Can Lead to Obesity
“What?” I hear you say. “How can a zero-calorie drink lead to obesity?”
The “why” is unclear, but studies have found the consumption of diet drinks and obesity go hand in hand. If you drink more than two cans of diet soda daily, your risk of obesity is a whopping 57.1%.
Researchers speculate that dieters may feel that drinking diet pop gives them “permission” to eat more high calorie foods. Another theory is the the sweet taste of diet drinks leads your body to expect high calorie food. When the food doesn’t show up, your body is confused and your hunger for that food is increased, thereby leading to weight gain.
3. It Erodes Your Tooth Enamel
Remember phosphoric acid from earlier in our discussion? He’s back again as a bad guy, accompanied by citric acid. These acids are found in many diet sodas, and in addition to maintaining carbonation, they also erode the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the best barrier our teeth have against decay, otherwise known as cavities, so you would do well to keep that enamel in good shape.
Check your diet soda to see whether it contains these acids (darker colas are more likely to contain phosphoric acid than lighter colored diet drinks). If you must drink diet pop, sip it through a straw to reduce its contact with your teeth.
4. It Can Lead to Kidney Damage
The latest reason to avoid diet soda is its linkage to kidney damage. A 2009 Nurses’ Health Study of over 3,000 women found a 30% drop in level of kidney blood filtering ability for participants who drank two or more servings of diet soda per day (a serving was defined as a bottle, can, or glass of soda). Researchers took into consideration other factors which may have affected results, such as participants with conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, and they also noted no similar findings for those drinking regular soda. Thus, the study pointed a finger squarely at diet soda as the cause of kidney woes.
With these facts, it’s easy to see that diet soda is a health negative. Try to satisfy your desire for a tasty, low calorie drink with a healthier choice such as flavored waters or teas.