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How Diet Sodas Are Ruining Your Health and Making you Fat

Updated on May 15, 2014
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Diet Soda is Healthy, Right?

Most Americans today are health conscious. They want to exercise, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight. Want to keep from getting fat? Make smart, healthy food choices to keep you at your ideal weight. Already overweight? Cut back on your calorie-laden foods such as sweets, carbs, and soda and lose the weight. One of the first things you will do is switch to diet soda. It has no calories, therefore I can drink it on my low calorie diet. It doesn't have sugar in it, so surely it must be healthier than regular sodas. Is it?

A recent study showed that Americans drink 20 percent more diet drinks now than they did 15 years ago. Yet, nearly two thirds of the American population is obese. This can also be attributed to poor food choices, but there have been studies published that Diet soda and obesity are connected.

According to an article published on www.foodInsight.org, 70 percent of Americans consider themselves overweight, and 77 percent of those are trying to lose weight. The vast majority of these Americans are erroneously believing that diet sodas are a healthier alternative to sugar-sweetened sodas.

That being said, there are some diet soda dangers you should consider before you pop open another can.

History of Diet Soda

The first diet soda was produced in 1952 and was called No-Cal. It was marketed mainly to diabetics. It did not appeal to Americans as a whole because they believed it was a diabetic product, not a diet product. In the decades following, different brands such as Tab, Diet Rite, and Like were produced, all with different levels of popularity. It wasn't until 1982 when Diet Coke was produced that Americans started their love affair with diet sodas.

Several of these brands have been banned through the years because of the ingredients used to sweeten them. Like (what is now known as Diet 7 Up) was banned in 1969 because of its use of a sweetener called cyclamate. It was believed at the time that cyclamate contributed to cancer. Tab's production was reduced in the early eighties because of its use of saccharin and the fear that it was a carcinogen. Now there are as many diet soda products as there are regular soft drink products. It has become the accepted norm to drink diet sodas. If you're drinking a regular soda, you're making an unhealthy choice.

Diet Soda Ingredients

While there are different ingredients in any given diet drink to give it its particular flavor, the ingredients used to sweeten it are largely the same. The main ingredient in every soda, diet or regular, is carbonated water. Depending on personal preference, a soft drink may or may not contain caffeine. There are also miscellaneous ingredients that color the soda. After that, the list of ingredients sound like they should be in a chemistry lab, not in something that is put into your body.

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is a mineral and helps keep soda from going flat. It is also used in fertilizer, soap manufacturing, and food processing. When ingested, it can cause bone loss. It takes calcium from your teeth and bones and also impedes digestion by diluting the hydrochloric acid that is present in the stomach.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits and makes the soda taste sour. There are no reported side effects of citric acid.

Potassium Benzoate

Potassium benzoate is a food preservative and is added to diet soda to keep it from molding and inhibits bacterial growth. It is also added to fireworks to make the whistle sound.

Calcium Disodium EDTA

Calcium Disodium EDTA is added to keep benzene from forming when two other ingredients in diet sodas are mixed: potassium benzoate and vitamin C. Benzene is a carcinogen and has been linked to cancer.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a wood alcohol and is the sweetener used in most diet sodas. Aspartame can eat into cellular membranes in our body. This may cause cancer, multiple sclerosis, mood disorders, migraines, nausea, rashes, and many more symptoms. Once ingested and it reaches 86 degrees Fahrenheit, it converts to formaldehyde inside your body!

Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an amino acid and is found in most natural foods. However, it can have adverse effects in people who have certain medical conditions.

Does Drinking Diet Soda Make You Gain Weight?

You're trying to lose weight, right? But can diet sodas actually make you gain? Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can actually cause weight gain by disrupting your intestinal flora. This can cause us to feel hungry all the time and never feel full. Also, the sweet diet soda may actually make you crave more sweets. If you give in to these cravings and indulge, diet sodas could inadvertently make you gain weight.

Also, drinking diet soda can have a psychological effect on weight gain. How many of you have ordered a diet drink to go along with that big hamburger and fries? By thinking we are not taking in any calories when we drink diet soda, we may feel it is acceptable to splurge and consume those calories elsewhere.

Is Diet Soda Or Regular Better?

Making a choice between regular or diet soda is like picking your poison. Both regular and diet soda contain some of the same ingredients such as phosphoric acid. You will avoid the nasty side effects of aspartame in diet soda, but there are approximately nine to ten teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce can of soda, which can also contribute to health problems. Because there is no health benefit to consuming either regular or diet soda, it is best to stay away from them altogether.

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    • Abbyfitz profile image
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      Abbyfitz 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks! Yes I know what you mean. I have managed to wean myself to water, but sometimes you just want to taste something. Lol

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I have cut way back on my soda consumption over the years, but its the carbonation that I just love...There are some carbonated waters with vitamins and minerals added, which are also very low in calories. I'm not talking about Vitamin Water, but something similar which is carbonated. I know it would be better to just drink water, but I just love those bubbles! Thanks for the informative hub, it does give us all food for thought.

    • Abbyfitz profile image
      Author

      Abbyfitz 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks so much. I don't care for it much either but my son loves it

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      I seldom drink soda, but you have some interesting stuff here. I wish I could get my family to drink less of it, diet or otherwise. Soda is loaded in both sugar and sodium which neither is good for you in volume.

      Welcome to Hub Pages, Abbyfitz. Keep up the good work.

    • Abbyfitz profile image
      Author

      Abbyfitz 5 years ago from Florida

      Wow. That's amazing. Congratulations on your weight loss. I actually wrote this article because a friend asked me if diet sodas were ok to drink on her diet. I was shocked. She can't walk down the soda aisle now lol

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      I drank diet pop for a few years because I wanted to lose weight. I did do some reading about aspartame at the request of a friend who was very concerned about me and did quit drinking the stuff. I don't know if it's related, but I now (sparingly) drink the fully leaded stuff, and I've lost sixty pounds this year.

      Also, aspartame can have serious side effects for folks with bi-polar disorder as it can increase the severity of mood swings (among other things). I noticed a dramatic improvement when I quit drinking diet.