In our interview last week with pediatrician, Yohanna Vernon, MD, on the subject of family immune health, she strongly advised us to reduce sugar intake. She mentioned that a major but controllable source of sugar is soft drinks. People who have not yet learned the truth about artificial sweeteners might think that a switch to “diet” drinks could be the answer. The evidence against fake sweeteners is piling up and I was delighted when my chiropractor, Dr. Andrew Shepherd, gave me this well-researched article on the topic:
As you change your lifestyle habits and opt for healthier food and drink options, there may be gray areas confusing you as to whether or not diet products are safe– specifically diet soda. So can your favorite no-calorie diet drink help you lose weight? In short, the answer is no.
A Purdue researcher suggests that health officials should urge diet soda consumers to avoid the drink just as they do with regular soda. Warning labels should be expanded to include limiting the intake of all sweeteners, including the infamous no-calorie sweeteners1, said Susan E. Swithers, Ph.D., a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist at Purdue.
The issue with diet soft drinks primarily concerns the use of artificial sweeteners that confuse the body’s natural ability to manage calories based on tasting sweets. People who consume artificial sweeteners are twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome, according to the Purdue report2.
But did you know that diet soda is also the culprit behind various other health issues such as depression, kidney damage, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung issues, and poor brain health?
Depression – A study3 conducted by Honglei Chen, MD, Ph.D., with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park stated that drinking more than four cans of soda a day is linked to a 30 percent higher risk of depression. The risk was significantly higher for people who drank diet soda.
Kidney Damage – Researchers from Harvard Medical School who studied the effects of long-term diet soda consumption found a 30 percent greater reduction in kidney function. The study observed participants who regularly drank diet soda for over 20 years.
Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome – According to a 2009 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, drinking diet soda is linked to a 36 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-diet soda drinkers.
Also, artificial sweeteners may interfere with the body’s gut-brain connection. This can inevitably lead to metabolic disorders.
Cardiovascular Disease – Researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University studied more than 2,000 adults for ten years and found that those who drank diet soda daily were at a higher risk of a stroke or heart attack. They were also more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. The increased risk remained even when researchers adjusted for smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol, and other contributing factors.
Compromised Lungs – COPD symptoms and asthma can develop as a result of drinking soda and diet soda. An Australian study found that 13.3 percent of participants with asthma and 15.6 percent of those with COPD drank more than two cups of soda a day.
A Less Protected Brain – Aspartame, a common artificial sweetener found in diet sodas, has been found to eat away at the brain’s antioxidant defense system. Aspartame has also been associated with migraines and headaches, anxiety, short-term memory loss, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, hearing loss, weight gain, fatigue, brain tumors, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease, lymphoma, diabetes, arthritis, chemical sensitivities, ADHD, and Parkinson’s.
- Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850261/