Having a diet drink here and there is not likely to have much effect on overall health. However, the type and amount of artificial or no-calorie sweetener consumed does have an affect on your body and mind. Studies show that diet drinks can be disruptive to the gut bacteria. The gut microbiome is an important part of overall health and wellness. Limiting or skipping out on diet soda can improve your health.
Diet soda may seem harmless, but it's causing some disharmony within the body. Not only is it affecting your internal organs, it's actually changing your eating patterns. When you limit or cut out diet soda you may experience some of these effects.
If you look at the ingredients in diet soda you will probably notice a handful, maybe more, that you are not familiar with. Research has shown that many of the ingredients in diet soda are linked to decreased kidney function, fat accumulation around the waist line and heightened sugar cravings. Drinking diet soda regularly will put you at an increased risk of metabolic diseases, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood sugar. These common biomarkers of metabolic syndrome can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
There is a paradox around diet soda, it’s time to confront it.. Most people who drink diet soda think they are doing the right thing by not drinking the regular sugary soda and choosing the zero calorie option. Yes the “diet” soda may be calorie-free but many of the other artificial ingredients can make it easy to gain weight, which defeats the whole purpose..
I understand where this could be confusing. Diet is literally the first word in the name of the beverage. Unfortunately this is incredibly deceiving. Researchers have done a number of studies that have shown that drinking diet soda actually increases the amount of food you eat. The artificial sweeteners cause you to crave sugar. At this point it is widely known that an excessive amount of sugar intake will lead to weight gain.
Our bodies are very intelligent, when you drink diet soda it tastes sweet. Our body responds by producing insulin to uptake the sugar, however because it's an artificial sweetener there is no sugar to take in. When the body doesn't receive the sugar it's expecting it causes you to crave the real stuff.
Reduce Sugar Cravings
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase appetite and to disrupt the hormones that tell us our stomach is full. There is a fine balance of homeostasis within the body. When this is thrown off it can lead to all kinds of issues. I'm sure many of us know someone who is suffering from hormone imbalance. Common diseases from hormone imbalance are diabetes, thyroid diseases, adrenal dysfunction, depression, etc. As you decrease the amount of diet soda you are drinking your cravings for sugar will lessen, which will help your body to regulate your hormones more effectively.
Maybe you have noticed, artificially sweetened foods or beverages tend to be far sweeter than natural sugar cane. Being exposed to highly sweetened foods or drinks regularly can desensitize your taste buds to sweetness. This will cause you to crave more sugar and sweets. The artificial ingredients in diet soda make anyone who drinks it crave more sugar. Once you cut out the soda, you should notice your cravings calming down.
As you consume these artificially sweetened diet soda it causes the body to physically change. When the body tastes sweets it releases insulin, to lower the blood sugar. However when the sugar never comes, the low blood sugar will trigger hunger and a craving for sugar. This is how the body naturally stays in metabolic homeostasis. By reducing the body’s insulin dump reaction you will have less cravings for sugary food and drinks. Consuming lower amounts of sugars on a daily basis will help you manage weight loss and overall health.
When you give up your diet soda habit, you will most likely feel less hungry during the day. And you won't just be craving less sugar. You will probably crave less food altogether. Your hunger hormone will be triggered less and you will feel more satisfied throughout the day.
How common is it to see a diet soda commercial with happy smiling people. Unfortunately we can't trust everything we see in commercials.. The truth is drinking diet soda can actually make you feel worse. A study found that drinking diet drinks may put older adults at higher risk for depression. Researchers also found that coffee and tea drinkers who did not sweeten their drinks had lower rates of depression. If you are an avid diet soda drinker and you are struggling with depression or feeling blue, try cutting it out for a few days, weeks, months and see how you feel. Your diet soda could be affecting you in ways you couldn't imagine.
Improve Immune System
Your immune system is affected by the artificial sweeteners in diet soda. Thanks to research on the gut biome we now know that a large part of our immune system is located in our gut bacteria. Earlier I mentioned that artificial sweeteners can be quite damaging to the delicate gut bacteria. Which will have a compromising effect on the immune system.
Not only is the microbiome in control of the immune system it also regulates blood sugar, weight management and how our body responds to disease and infection. These are pretty important aspects of our overall health and wellbeing.
With all the information shared above, my recommendation as a health and fitness professional is.. CUT OUT THE DIET SODA!!
I realize that I may have just triggered many people who are reading this. Knowing all the health disruptions that diet soda can cause, I can not ethically recommend diet soda to anyone. If you are not ready to fully give up your diet soda, at the very least reduce your intake.
There are SO many great options of drinks out there that will provide you with positive health benefits AND taste good.. I recommend giving alternative drinks a try, preferably ones without artificial sweeteners.