Although diet soda contains 15% fewer calories than regular soda, it poses a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke, cancer and neurological disorders.
In 2007, a large national study showed that people who drank one or more servings of diet soda a day had a 67% greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study suggested those who drink diet soda are also at risk to develop metabolic syndrome resulting in high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides (blood fats), low levels of good cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar and large waists.
Sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame potassium, alitame, neotame, and cyclamate have caused a variety of health concerns including headaches, allergies, digestive problems, cancer and neurological disorders.
Stevia is a sweetener made from stevia rebaudiana leaves. It’s an herb grown in Brazil and it’s recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe sweetener in foods and beverages. Stevia products are actually sold as dietary supplements, not as sweeteners.
If your diet soda isn’t sweetened with stevia, should you switch back to regular soda? The experts (of course) say no. The best choice is to reduce the amount of soda you drink — whether it’s diet or regular.
Other ways to limit your risk:
- Add seltzer to your soda beverage to decrease the amount of artificial sweetener.
- Create your own carbonated beverage by adding small amounts of fruit juice or cider to water or seltzer.
- Try seltzer with a fruit wedge to add flavor.
- If you’re not big into seltzer, add lightly crushed mint to iced herbal tea.
- Try blending your favorite fruits for a refreshing smoothie drink to prevent those soda cravings.
Another way to reduce your risk of stroke is to decrease the amount of sodium in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 milligrams of salt a day. Those who consume 4,000 milligrams of sodium a day more than double their risk of stroke.