The Data on Diet Soda
Opinions and research studies on the effects of diet sodas are numerous and controversial which makes it hard to determine if these beverages are okay to drink. We have gathered some of the research on diet sodas to help you decide what is best for your health.
Soda (diet and regular) is associated with an increase in blood pressure
This study in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that those who drank one soda daily, regardless of the type, had an increased risk for high blood pressure of 1.14%. The authors hypothesized it was due to something other than the sugar type such as the carbonation or cola in the soda. While this increase is not large, high blood pressure is a very common disease that can affect your risk for heart attacks, stroke, and kidney damage.
Diet soda was associated with an increase in abdominal waist circumference
A recent study in 2014 followed 474 people for 9 years and found a relationship between diet soda consumption and increased waist size. It found that those who drank diet soda occasionally saw an increase of 1.8 inches to their waist and those who drank daily gained 3 inches. There was a 500% greater increase in those who drank 2 or more diet sodas daily compared to non-drinkers.
Another study monitored participants for 5 years and found those who drank diet soda daily had a 36% greater risk of a high waist circumference.
Diet soda may be associated with type 2 diabetes
The same study mentioned above also found daily diet soda drinkers had a higher fasting glucose and a 67% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. However, a recent review of 11 different research studies determined that while sugar sweetened sodas were associated with an increased risk of diabetes, this finding was less consistent for diet soda drinkers.
Those who drank diet soda consumed more calories
Another group compared calorie intake by soda vs solid food and body weight. They found that for overweight and obese participants, people consumed more solid-food calories when they drank diet soda vs regular soda. In general they found that 11% of healthy weight, 19% of overweight, and 22% of obese adults drank diet sodas.
It is good to remember that while associations have been found in these studies, this does not prove diet soda causes these things. It could be people who drink diet soda then consume more calories like the last study found, and that is what is causing the ill effects. Or it could be something in the soda besides the sugar such as the first study found. Regardless, it seems that daily diet soda consumption is associated with several serious problems we fight in the clinic daily.
Zero calories? Well, we knew it was too good to be true.