Recent research shows that diet soda may not be as healthy as we may think. Past studies have tied the beverage to a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, which prompted efforts to get it taxed just like sugary drinks are.
The American Diabetes Association recommends drinking diet soda as it is a safer alternative to sugary drinks. In the U.S., there are six artificial sweeteners and two natural sweeteners. All sweeteners are non-caloric.
Aspartame, one of the most popular types of artificial sweeteners is now used in 6,000 foods globally. Americans consume up to 5,500 tons of aspartame every year.
In theory, such sweeteners don’t promote weight gain as they are calorie-free. This is because the body cannot break them down into natural sugars once they reach the gut. Aspartame is not converted into simple sugars, while sucralose and saccharine are directly absorbed in the bloodstream, without being broken down.
This is why artificial sweeteners have been touted as a better choice when it comes to preventing diabetes. However, more and more studies suggest the sweeteners are not so healthy.
Diet Soda Is Not as Healthy as Thought
Researchers explained that artificial sweeteners in diet soda can impact a gut enzyme that protects the body from type 2 diabetes. The effect is a response to the discrepancy between the sweet taste and calorie intake.
Artificial sweeteners in diet soda can also decrease the activity of the amygdala, a brain region that regulates hunger and taste perception. Also, long-term use can lead to disturbances in the brain’s region that generates a feeling of satisfaction after a meal.
This is why many diet soda drinkers tend to compensate for the lack of satisfaction from the drinks by boosting their intake of unhealthy but tasty foods.
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