Is Diet Soda Better Than Regular Soda?: It’s a Catch 22
Trust me, I get it! You really like your soda and you don’t want to give it up no matter what! So with all the recent reports over the past couple of decades on health risks of drinking sugary regular sodas you switched to diet sodas. Then we were all told that diet sodas are even worse for us because of the artificial sweeteners and additives to make them taste at least close to what we were used to drinking with our regular sodas!
So just what are we supposed to do if we are told that there are health risks to both? Is diet soda better than regular soda when it comes to health risks? Or should we just go back to drinking the regular soda we started drinking in the first place? What gives?
Heart Attack and Stroke Risks:
One study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine studied a group of nearly 2,500 men and women, some of who drank diet soda and others in the group who drank regular soda. The conclusion was that the risk of heart attack and stroke were higher in the group that drank diet soda vs those who drank regular soda.
There was no difference in whether the subjects were either male or female, or age group. In fact, the group who drank diet soda had 48% great occurrences of heart attacks and strokes than those who drank regular sodas.
The researchers were unable to pinpoint exactly the source of the reason for the increased incidence of heart attack and stroke in diet soda drinkers, but they did conclude that at least for these two health risks alone, regular soda was less likely to produce heart attack and stroke than regular soda.
A word of caution though: Studies have found that regular soda can lead to higher incidences of heart attacks than drinking no soda at all. So the best answer for avoiding heart attacks and strokes is to not drink either regular or diet sodas.
Empty Calories in Regular Soda:
A study conducted by Medical Daily concluded that if everything else were equal, an adult who drank just one can of regular soda per day would gain on average an additional 14.5 pounds per year. If you do the math, those additional 14.5 pounds per year over a five-year period is almost 73 pounds in additional weight on your frame.
The reason is that the sugars found in regular sodas are deemed “empty calories” meaning that our bodies do not know what to do with these calories and stores these calories in fat cells instead of treating them as nourishment.
Diet Sodas are not Diet-Friendly:
In recent years, most of us have heard that diet sodas really are not diet-friendly. You can not simply drink diet soda and expect to lose weight. In fact, there have been many studies that prove the opposite as the artificial sweeteners and chemicals in diet soda actually contribute to weight GAIN.
What this means is that those who drink diet soda regularly will gain more weight than those who don’t. So not only are the chemicals and artificial ingredients in them bad for you, but the long term effects are bad as well. Increased weight can lead to increased health risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and a host of other problems.
If there is any benefit that regular soda has over diet soda it is that individuals who drink regular soda generally have fewer cravings for desert and sweet foods. Their bodies are getting the artificial sweetness it desires from their soda and therefore seem to not have as many cravings for sweets.
Many who drink diet sodas think of it as a balancing act and makes consumption of higher amounts of foods somehow allowable. How often have you super-sized your fast food order with an extra large size fries with your burger but ordered a diet soda with it thinking that it will “balance out” the super-sized meal order?
Which is better for Dental Health?
Another area which differs for diet and regular sodas is dental health. Obviously regular sodas contain sugar which can contribute to cavities and bad dental hygiene. Our teeth mouths actually do need unprocessed sugar for natural bacteria to form for good dental hygiene. But the sugars found in regular sodas are not the healthy sugars, so they instead contribute to cavities and bad dental hygiene.
Diet soda is not innocent in dental hygiene either though as they contain acids that regular sodas do not. These acids can strip the enamel from your teeth, which eventually will lead to cavities and bad dental hygiene as well.
Other Health Considerations:
As if the above were not enough to think about, drinking regular soda can reduce the chemical level known as brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Diets that are too high in refined sugar such as those found in regular soda can produce this chemical imbalance. The effect is that it can reduce your ability to learn and reduce your memory.
Drinking soda has also been linked to developing an increased chance of asthma and breathing conditions. It has been shown in studies that the more soda you drink, the great chance you have of developing these complications.
Catch 22 Conclusion:
By now, you may have already realize the Catch 22 answer to the question “Is Diet Soda Better than Regular Soda?” If you drink regular sodas as your beverage choice, you are faced with one set of health risks. If you choose diet sodas as the answer, you are faced with another set of health risks.
So the only good answer to this dilemma is that if you must drink sodas, at least limit your consumption of them greatly. There are so many other healthy options to sodas that the best thing is to eliminate them altogether. But if you must, please limit them greatly.
If you have any comments or additional thoughts about this article, please leave them below and I will respond to them as soon as I am able.