Regular soda is loaded with calories, so maybe you switched to diet soda and thought you were doing yourself a favor, but that just isn’t the case. A number of things happen to your body if you are a diet soda drinker. The sweet beverage can have an effect on everything from your teeth to your mood. This graphic appeared on Prevention.com, and is a good thing to keep in mind. Let’s look at each part of our systems diet soda can hurt.
Diet soda is highly acidic, so if you are drinking three or more cans a day, your risk of tooth decay goes up. A 2006 study from the University of Michigan concludes that: “carbonated soft drinks may cause significant long-term enamel dissolution.”
This graph is from a study done at the University of Michigan and shows enamel dissolution of a number of beverages.
“My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain nine to 12 teaspoons of sugar and have an acidity that approaches the level of battery acid,” Dr. Kenton Ross, spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, explained in a study done by the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. “The bottom line is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided.”
First, metabolic syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors that raise a person’s risk for heart disease and other health issues, like diabetes and stroke. Drinking diet soda on a daily basis can increase a person’s risk of metabolic syndrome by 36 percent. A 2008 study published in Circulation, concluded that the consumption of meat, fried foods, and diet soda were adversely associated with metabolic syndrome.
A study of 3,318 women published in the Clinical Journey of the American Society of Nephrology found that drinking at least two diet sodas a day is linked to double the risk of kidney disease.
It isn’t the soda alone that is harmful, the cans and bottle it comes in often contain a chemical called BPA—or bisphenol A—which can alter hormones and decrease fertility according to a study from Harvard University. “Exposure of eggs to BPA decreased the percentage of eggs that matured and increased the percentage of eggs that degenerated,” lead researcher Catherine Racowsky, director of the assisted reproductive technologies laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told HealthDay at the time. Another study published in PLOS Genetics, concluded that BPAs play a role in the decline of male fertility as well.
Do you down four or more cans of soda a day? You could be 30 percent more likely to develop depression according to a 2013 study from the National Institutes of Health. “Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical—and may have important mental—health consequences,” study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a press release. “Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk. More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors.”
According to a study by the American Heart Association, daily soda drinkers increase their risk of vascular events—stroke, heart attack, and vascular-related deaths—by 61 percent. “If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., lead author and epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida, said in a press release at the time of the study.
According to a study by the University of Texas Science Center, San Antonio, diet soda drinkers are more likely to be overweight and obese. “On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese,” Sharon Fowler, faculty associate in the division of clinical epidemiology in the Health Science Center’s department of medicine, said at the time of the study.
Drinking diet soda can lead to being overweight.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that daily consumption of diet soda led to a 67 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.