Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center (2005) found that an individual’s risk for becoming overweight or obese was associated with the amount of diet soda individuals drank. For every diet soda the participants drank per day, their likelihood of becoming overweight was increased by 65%, and obese 41%. That’s huge!
This is due in part to the fact that the brain is receiving messages that you are drinking something sweet while your body is not receiving any energy from that sweetness which confuses your brain and body. Research has shown that this confusion can lead to consuming more calories compared to when drinking regular soda because your body is receiving energy while your brain is receiving the message that you are enjoying something sweet.
Diet soda and other artificially sweetened beverages such as sparkling water appear to increase your risk for health issues. Research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2012) reported that consuming diet soda daily increased the risk of stroke, heart attack and death. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) found that both diet and regular soda increase one’s risk for type 2 diabetes in women.
Bottom Line: Both regular and diet soda are empty calorie beverages providing no nutrients. Instead enjoy nutrient-rich drinks such as, water, low-fat or nonfat milk or nondairy alternatives, unsweetened tea or coffee, and 100% juice (drink sparingly). Because thinking your drink will help you to optimize your health!