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If you are still drinking diet soda thinking that it is a healthier alternative to regular soda, then this information is for you. If you are drinking diet soda because you love soda and don’t want the sugar calories from regular soda, then this information is for you, too.

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Marketed as healthy because it has zero calories, the selling points for diet soda couldn’t be more misleading. Low calorie does not mean healthy, and it does not even mean you won’t gain weight, contrary to popular belief. What’s more, low calorie generally means a high chemical content, which affects the body in many more important ways than simply fat storage.

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucrose confuse the body’s natural ability to manage calories after tasting something sweet, which means people tend to overeat even when they drink diet soda. People who consume diet soda regularly are twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

Check out this infographic for more information about the health risks associated with drinking diet soda regularly. It comes from Dr. Josh Axe.

diet-soda-infographic-1

Research to Back This Up

1. Depression

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Drinking more than four cans of soda a day is linked to a 30% higher risk of developing depression. Somewhat surprisingly, this risk appeared to be greater for those who chose diet soda over regular soda.

2. Kidney Damage

Researchers from Harvard University found that those who had been drinking diet soda for many years were at risk of a 30% greater reduction in kidney function compared to those who didn’t. This study focused on those who regularly consumed diet soda over 20 years.

3. Type 2 Diabetes NS Metabolic Syndrome

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that drinking diet soda daily led to a 36% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. What’s more, and perhaps surprisingly, it led to a 67% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who don’t drink diet soda. This is especially important to note, because many diabetics consume diet soda as a safe alternative to traditionally sweetened soda.

4. Cardiovascular Disease

A study conducted by the University of Miami and Columbia University followed more than 2,000 adults for 10 years and found that those who drank diet soda daily were more likely to suffer a stroke or a heart attack and were also more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

This risk remained even when the researchers factored in lifestyle considerations like smoking, exercise, weight, cholesterol levels, and sodium intake.

5. Compromised Lung Function

Drinking any kind of soda, not just diet, can increase your chances of developing asthma and COPD symptoms. The more soda you drink, the higher the risk. A study conducted in Australia found that 13.3% of the participants with asthma and 15.6% of those with COPD drank more than two cups of soda each day.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a known neurotoxin. It has been linked to many ailments, including: migraines and headaches, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, short term memory loss, hearing loss, weight gain, fatigue, brain tumors, epilepsy, lymphoma, ADHD, Parkinson’s, birth defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes. Is that worth the “zero calorie” label?

So, Now What?

Unfortunately, regular soda, which is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners, is no better. If you insist on drinking soda, try cutting back drastically or switching to natural sugar-based sodas that contain stevia or xylitol as the sweeteners. Soda water with a squeeze of lime or lemon is also a great alternative.

And if you are still crazing that sweetness you may want to try replacing it with kombucha. A naturally effervescent fermented tea, it is loaded with gut-friendly probiotics and other nutrients, and while still lightly sweet it has much less sugar than regular soda and far more health benefits. You can find kombucha at health food stores and it is becoming increasingly available in regular grocery stores as well. It can be quite expensive, however, so you may want to consider making your own.

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