‘Diet’ drinks like diet-coke, coke zero, and pepsi max can seem like a health-conscious choice because they have less calories than sugary soft drinks. But, the chemicals and artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks can be just as harmful to your health.
1. It confuses your body
Artificial Sweeteners have more intense flavour than real sugar, so over time diet drinks can dull your senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit.
More alarmingly, they also have the same effect on your body as sugar. Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain.
2. It could lead to weight gain, not weight loss
Diet drinks are normally calorie-free, but it won't necessarily help you lose weight. In a recent study, diet drink consumers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-consumers. Participants who drank two or more diet fizzy drinks a day experienced a 500% greater increase. This is partly down to the way artificial sweeteners confuse your body, and partly down to psychological reasons… If you know you're not consuming any liquid calories, it easier to convince yourself that having chocolate biscuit instead is ok.
3. It's associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Consuming one diet drink a day was associated with a 36% increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or raised cholesterol in a recent study in America .
4. It has no nutritional value
When you drink diet beverages, you're not taking in any calories—but you're also not swallowing anything that does your body any good, either. The best no-calorie beverage is water. It’s essential for many of our bodily processes, so replacing it with diet drinks is a negative thing.
5. Artificial sweeteners are linked to headaches
Studies on aspartame (the main sweetener in diet drinks) shows that this artificial sweetener may trigger headaches in some people.
6. It can lead to tooth decay
A case study published in the journal General Dentistry compared the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet-drink consumer, and found the same level of tooth erosion in each of them. The main culprit in drink drinks is citric acid, which weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time.
7. It may be bad for your bones
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fizzy drink consumption (all kinds, not just diet) is associated with low bone-mineral density.
8. Can cause insomnia
When you consume a diet drink, the brain anticipates energy levels will increase when it senses the sweetness but when this does not happen it tells the body to consume more. And since the diet drinks still contain caffeine, it can lead to hyperactivity, insomnia and decreased sleep quality.
So, next time you are tempted by a ‘diet drink’, have a think about all of the negative effects on your health. Is it really worth it?