Diet soft drinks may wear at your teeth, potentially causing cavities: When Australian researchers exposed extracted cavity-free molars to regular or diet soft drinks, they saw erosion in both scenarios. This may be due to the acidic content—phosphoric acid is a common cola ingredient, whereas citric acid is a component of Sprite and other lemon—and lime—flavoured soft drinks. Carbonated drinks also prime the body to store more fat.
If you’re a young girl (or the mother of one), take note: Intake of caffeinated and artificially sweetened drinks is associated with the start of menstruation before age 11. Researchers at Columbia University, University of Minnesota, and George Washington University determined this after following 9- and 10-year-olds until they were 18 years of age.
Women who drank one or more diet soft drinks daily were significantly more likely to deliver preterm babies, per a preliminary Danish study. There was no link between regular soft drink intake and preterm birth.
People who had at least one soft drink a day were at greater risk for metabolic syndrome, in an observational study in the journal Nutrients. Metabolic syndrome is the presence of several conditions (including high fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, and a large waistline) that increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
When breast milk samples from 20 volunteers were analysed, the non-nutritive sweeteners saccharin (an ingredient in Tab), sucralose (Splenda; present in Diet Coke with Splenda and Diet Mountain Dew), and acesulfame potassium (aceK; in Diet Pepsi) were found in 65 per cent of the samples, according to a study in the Journal of Toxicology and Human Health. Aspartame wasn’t found, as it may break down before it enters the bloodstream (and breast milk).
One experimental study in Appetite shows that people who drank Sprite Zero were almost three times more likely to select sweets over gum or water, versus subjects who sipped regular soft drink or mineral water. More research is needed to understand why. Note that many studies linking diet soft drink and weight gain are based on correlation research (which shows a connection, but not a cause and effect).
Mixing diet soft drink and alcohol can get you drunker – which can be dangerous if you’ve timed your later-in-the-evening driving based on “just one drink.” Volunteers were given vodka mixed with a non-diet soft drink, diet soft drink, or a placebo drink, in a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. People drinking the diet combo had significantly higher breath alcohol concentrations, although they didn’t perceive much of a difference.
Here’s a valid question: Is there room for alcohol in your diet if you have diabetes? Read on to find out.
Postmenopausal women who have two or more diet beverages daily were more likely to have heart troubles – including coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, a heart attack, or cardiovascular death, researchers in Iowa found. However, these women were more likely to be overweight, smoke, and have diabetes or high blood pressure – so it’s not clear if the soft drink or the unhealthy lifestyle (or both) led to illness.
Although some diet soft drinks can count towards your daily hydration goal, so too do plain old water, seltzer, and antioxidant-rich tea.
Sugar helps prevent spoilage, so it makes sense that soft drinks without sugar require a mould inhibitor. Enter potassium benzoate and sodium benzoate, ingredients often added to diet fizzy drinks. Benzene, a carcinogen, can form from these preservatives – although the amount of benzene in soft drinks is lower than the amount identified as hazardous.
Older adults who regularly drank cola and diet cola had significantly less bone density in the hip area, versus those who had soft drinks infrequently, reveals a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Experts haven’t yet determined whether the cause is phosphorous leaching calcium from bones or interfering with calcium metabolism (or something else entirely).
While many soft drink companies have pushed aside bottles made with bisphenol A (BPA), plenty of aluminium can liners still contain the chemical, which is linked to issues with reproductive health, metabolic disease and other health problems.
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