Coke. Soda. Pop. Soda pop. Soft drink. No matter what you call it, it’s hardly groundbreaking news that drinking soda is bad for you. Yet, many people incorrectly assume that diet soda provides a healthier alternative to the fully loaded version. Recent studies have linked the carbonated beverage to a 12-pack of health effects, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Until recently, diet soda was generally accepted as a safer option than the regular drink for those with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association even included it on their list of “safe” beverages for patients. This misconception was unraveled through a recent study conducted at Inserm University, which found that diet soda significantly increases the risk of Type-2 Diabetes. The study followed 66,118 women for a span of fourteen years to arrive at their results.
The numbers are telling: According to the report, “The risk of developing diabetes is 15% greater with the consumption of half a litre [of diet soda] per week and 59% greater for the consumption of 1.5 litres per week, respectively.” The study concludes that women who consumed a minimum of one 20-ounce serving of diet soda each week have a 121% increased risk of contracting diabetes than women who didn’t drink artificially sweetened drinks.
Diet soda-coholics may also face an increased risk of heart disease and strokes. A study published in The Journal of Internal Medicine followed 2,564 adults over ten years to explore how soft drink consumption affected their health. The results reported that daily diet soda consumers were more likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes and suffered an increased risk of a fatal vascular disease.
The research also revealed that adults who consumed diet soda daily were 48% more at risk of suffering from a stroke. The study took into account the age, physical activity, sex, and disease history to arrive at their comprehensive results.
If you’re a regular soda drinker, now might be the time to consider other options to quench your thirst without giving yourself a host of unwanted health risks. There are plenty of high-taste, low risk beverages that you can enjoy as a healthy alternative to diet soda:
- Iced tea – Even sweet tea is better than diet soda because it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.
- Black or green tea – More calories than diet soda but both are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Sparkling water mixed with 100% fruit juice.
- Flavored seltzer
- Coconut water
- Water – OK, so maybe it’s not the tastiest drink on the list but while diet soda will actually dehydrate you, we’re pretty confident that good ol’ H2O has the opposite effect.
According to Huffington Post health editor Laura Schocker, diet soda has a psychologically addictive effect over its daily consumers. If this describes you, read her article “How I Kicked the Diet Soda Habit (And How You Can Too)” to move yourself towards healthier beverage choices.
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