The phosphoric acid attacks the enamel in your teeth, while the artificial sweeteners like aspartame hit your system. Aspartame may trigger taste receptors and trick your body into thinking it has just processed sugar.
Research, including studies from Swithers and colleagues, shows that frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the opposite effect by confusing the body’s natural ability to manage calories based on tasting something sweet.
According to a report published in the March / April edition of General Dentistry, phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion, even with minimal exposure.
20 Minutes – May Switch On Fat Storage Mode
Like regular Coke this can trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode.
Artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) present in diet colas can all interfere negatively with natural gut bacteria that is part of your immune and digestive system, according to Amanda Payne of Switzerland’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health.
Data from a number of studies, including the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study also reported greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which is related to diabetes and cardiovascular problems, for consumers of artificially sweetened beverages. Some data indicated that those who consumed artificially sweetened beverages had double the risk of metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.
40 Minutes – Can Cause Addiction
The potentially deadly combination of caffeine and aspartame creates a short addictive high similar in the way cocaine works. Excitotoxins are released which may exhaust your brain by overstimulating it’s neuroreceptors, especially if consumed on a regular basis.
Excitotoxins are shown to freely penetrate certain brain regions and rapidly destroy neurons by hyperactivating the NMDA subtype of Glu receptor in studies.
Cravings for more coke are explained by the release of two neurotransmitters in the brain, dopamine and glutamate.
Caffeine and aspartame increases dopamine levels as shown in various studies.
Aspartic acid taken in its free form (unbound to proteins), significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate.
Researchers say glutamate is more essential to addiction than dopamine.
Source: Phenotype Offers New Perception on Cocaine The Scientist Date: 21 Jan 2002
60 Minutes – Depletes Nutrients, Makes You Hungry & Thirsty for More
Unlike the small amount of satisfaction you get from regular coke your body may still crave sweets. This makes you likely to reach for another soda, or worse, some other junk food you consider to be safe and the cycle continues.
A can of diet coke provides no nourishment and would replace a more nutritious drink you could have drunk while potentially depleting your body of essential minerals.
It will never quench your thirst as it dehydrates rather than hydrates your body. A lack of vital water can lead to brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue and feeling irritable.
“Some of the connection to metabolic disease could be related to how people behave by saying to themselves, ‘I’m having a diet soda, so this cheeseburger is OK.’ says Swithers.
Marisa Peer rated by Men’s Health as Britain’s Best Therapist, a behavioural psychologist and a world renowned expert in eating disorders confirms this, “It is very common to see clients who are overweight who drink diet coke who then eat a plate of chips or reach for the cake. This is because drinking a ‘diet drink’ like diet coke makes them feel it is now ok to eat whatever they want.’
The Big Problem with 'Zero' Calories
Marisa has over 20+ years as a weight loss therapist with her method proven to be the only one to work by the famous UK TV series Super Size Super Skinny that tested every method available and claimed only hers to work.
She has this to say about diet sodas and weight gain:
‘Artificial sweeteners are associated with a drop in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. Leptin is the hormone that inhibits hunger so diet drinks like diet coke actually make you hungry and less satisfied with normal amounts of food, and finally when you eat or drink a lot of chemicals that your body simply cannot break down, your body makes more and more internal fat to wrap the chemicals in keeping those harmful chemicals away from your vital organs. As diet coke has no calories and no recognised ingredients we know it is a cocktail of chemicals that encourage your body to gain and store weight especially on your legs and bottom away from your organs. diet drinks are not good for your body your health or even as it turns out for dieting.’
Joan Collins the famous British actress famed for her ageless beauty, once said that she doesn’t drink diet soda “because you never see skinny people drinking it!”
More Hidden Dangers
A can of diet cola contains 44-62mg of phosphoric acid, more than in many other soft drinks and researchers at Tufts University in Boston showed that women who regularly drank three or more cans a day had four per cent lower bone mineral density in their hips compared to those who preferred other soft drinks.
Phosphoric acid has also been linked to lower bone density in some studies, including a discussion in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In experiments at Harvard University, it was found to make skin and muscles wither and to damage the heart and kidneys over time.
Phosphoric acid has been associated with urinary changes that promote kidney stones and drinking 2 or more colas per day is associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease caused by a combination of phosphoric acid, caffeine and other additives.
Chronic consumption of aspartame can lead to potentially harmful side effects to your body, and the long term effects in humans are still not certain, although recent studies in animals prove its damaging effects, especially to the brain.
Various studies have shown:
About fifty per cent of aspartame is made up by phenylalanine, which could cross the blood-brain barrier and act as a precursor of catecholamine in the brain, as well as leading to phenylketonuria.
Forty per cent of aspartame is composed of aspartic acid, an excitotoxin that contributes to free radical damage in the brain.
Methanol which forms 10% of the by-products of aspartame is a toxic compound converted in the liver to formaldehyde that is neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
Luke Miller from Truth Theory has a little bit of a different spin on this and share the ingredients which are inside your diet coke can. It’s not pretty! You can read more about that here
Would all diet sodas have the same effect? Pepsi for instance? Or is this information relevant to just diet coke?
Yes all diet beverages with similar ingredients to Diet Coke will have the same or similar effects.
Are diet drinks (beverages which contain aspartame) more harmful than sugar laden drinks/food?
They are found in several studies to be actually worse:
According to Mark Hyman MD , a practicing family physician, an nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author who has a special interest in sugar and its health risks:
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered some alarming facts:
- Diet fizzy drinks increased the risk of diabetes more than regular fizzy drinks sweetened with sugar.
- Women who drank one 12oz diet fizzy drink had a 33% increased risk of type 2 diabetes and women who drank one 20oz soda had a 66% increase in risk.
- Women who drank diet fizzy drinks drank twice as much as those who drank regular fizzy drinks sweetened with sugar, because artificial sweeteners can be more addictive and are up to a 1000 times sweeter than regular sugar.
- The average diet fizzy drink consumer drinks 3 diet drinks a day.
- In this study they scientifically controlled for body weight and they found that the artificial sweeteners still increased diabetes independent of body weight!
The Choice Is Yours…
Do you really want to be a guinea pig on trial just so you can still enjoy your favorite drink, or do you think it makes sense to find more natural and safer alternatives, and see diet soda as a treat to be had once in a while?
Do you really want to be hooked on a drink like diet coke anyway given all the apparent risks from a variety of sources and anecdotal evidence from many experts?
Please do your own research, do not take my word as gospel. Look at all the evidence out there, so you can make a well informed decision.
Here are some of my recommendations for far healthier alternatives:
- Look for stevia (a natural sweetener) versions of soft drinks if you really must drink a soft drink.
- Drink plain mineral water with fresh lime or lemon juice or both with a dash of organic honey, if you prefer a sweeter taste, as a very healthy and hydrating drink.
- Drink green tea if you want the effects of caffeine without the jitters. L-theanine in green tea is the antidote to caffeine’s negative effects on the nervous system and it also boosts ‘alpha waves in your brain’
- Drink Kombucha or Kefir tea. They are both naturally fizzy and Kefir tea in particular can provide a dose of probiotics for promoting better digestion and health of your gut.
- Learn to make or buy nutritious smoothies made out of green vegetables like spinach, low sugar fruits like blueberries and tasty ingredients like coconut butter that are full of essential nutrients and health promoting fatty acids.
Bottom line: Moderation is key. Even just one can a day can put you at higher risk of metabolic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
View any heavily processed drinks like diet sodas as a treat to be consumed once in a while and you should be ok.