Is Diet Coke Healthy? 8 Major Reasons Why Diet Coke is a Silent Killer

Most of us crave Coke as a beverage. However, many studies depict that it is not a healthy option for most of us. Diet cokes are a preferable option over regular coke. It is especially recommendable to people who wish to lower their sugar and calorie consumption. 

So that gives rise to the question, Is diet coke healthy?

Recent studies depict that diet coke is not such a healthy beverage as much as we think of it. Diet coke may be responsible for heart diseases, kidney problems, and liver issues.  

In the article below, we have collected all the information related to the bad effects of diet coke. So let’s get started.

What is Diet Coke?

Ever wonder how diet coke has the same sweet flavor without actual sugar content inside? For that purpose, the manufacturer’s recipe includes artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, or cyclamates. 

is-diet-coke-healthy

What’s more? Almost all kinds of popular beverages in the market have a lighter or diet version for their consumers. A few to name are Diet Coke, Pepsi Max, Sprite Zero, Coke Zero, and others. 

When did the diet cokes first come in and around? These healthy beverages first came in the 1950s as an alternative for people with diabetes. Later, they were marketed to people who were finding ways of controlling weight and minimizing their sugar intake.

Here are some of the controversies that remain in talk regarding diet coke.

Diet coke controversies – Infographic

Is Diet Coke Healthy?

Diet coke makes up a mixture of carbonated water, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, food flavors, and preservatives. Diet Coke is assumed to be pretty better than regular Coke. They have few to no calories and they have minimal nutrition. 

For instance, a 354 ml diet Coke can contain minimal calories, sugar, fat, and protein. However, diet sodas don’t need to have artificial sweeteners only. Some of them have an equivalent portion of sugar and sweeteners inside. 

diet-coke

One such beverage is Coca-Cola Life, with the sweetener ‘stevia’ which contains approximately 90 calories and 24 grams of sugar. Some of the ingredients of diet coke are as follows:

  • Carbonated water: The majority of the sodas are formulated with the addition of carbon dioxide to water under pressure. 
  • Artificial sweeteners: Sodas include artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, and others inside. 
  • Acids: Acids namely citric, malic, phosphoric, and others add the necessary tartness to the soda drinks. 
  • Artificial food pigments: The commonly used pigments include caramels, anthocyanins, and others.
  • Flavoring: Natural and artificial both kinds of flavors are included in the diet beverages. Some of the common flavors include fruit. Herb, mint, berry, and cola. 
  • Retainers or preservatives: Preservatives such as potassium benzoate aid in maintaining the freshness and flavor of the diet soda. 
  • Vitamins: People get attracted to the idea of the presence of vitamins and minerals in diet beverages. It is not only appealing but a healthier addition to these drinks. 
  • Caffeine: The same as a regular beverage most diet sodas have a reasonable amount of caffeine inside. 

Impact of Diet Coke on Weight Loss is Conflicting:

As the diet coke is known as a calorie-free beverage option, it is natural to think of it as effective for weight loss. However, recent studies declare that the link between diet coke and weight loss may not be that straightforward.

Some of the most recent studies declare that diet beverages and artificial sweeteners may be responsible for a high risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Research from scientists declares that diet soda has a notable role in increasing the appetite by triggering the hunger hormone, altering sweet taste receptors, and triggering dopamine response to the brain.  

Diet Soda and Kidney Health:

Diet Coke is responsible for a higher chance of developing chronic kidney diseases. A study conducted on around 15 thousand people depicts that the risk of development of end-stage kidney diseases increases two fold with the number of diet coke glasses consumed per week. 

Compared to people who consumed less than one glass per week the people who consumed more than seven glasses of diet coke per week had double the risk of developing kidney disease. High phosphorus content in the diet coke may lead to kidney damage by increasing the acid load. 

Another study depicts that diet coke drinkers have a slightly higher risk of kidney stone development. However, the risk is found to be much less as compared to drinking regular coke. On the other hand, another research presents a contraction to the link found out between diet coke consumption and kidney stone development. 

Diet Coke may lead to Diabetes and Heart Disease:

Although diet coke is considered to be a calorie, sugar, and fat-free drink it is found to be linked with the development of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases according to numerous studies.

Diet sodas may lead to the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. One of the studies depicts that diet soda may increase the risk of stroke.

May Affect the Gut Health:

The artificial sweeteners added to the diet coke may affect the gut microbiome which is the community of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. The gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in numerous health-related aspects especially those linked to the immune system, heart health, and nutrient absorption. 

Destroys Tooth Enamel:

Diet coke is found to be highly acidic and it may destroy the tooth enamel of the consumer if consumed regularly. One test-tube study depicts that both regular and diet sodas affect the surface roughness of tooth enamel and lead to tooth erosion. 

tooth-enamel

Headaches:

Some people may experience headaches after consuming multiple servings of diet soda in a day. This may be possible due to the artificial sweetener content in the sodas such as aspartame. Headache is found to be a side-effect of aspartame. Other studies point to the fact that caffeine found in the diet coke may lead to headaches as well. 

Effect on Bone Density:

Diet coke has numerous compounds that affect bone health negatively and lead to bone loss. Notable amongst these compounds are caffeine and phosphoric acid. The problem is more prevalent in women as they develop a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. 

Diet Soda Alternatives

When it comes to discussing diet soda alternatives it is not so easy for most people to cut down on the consumption of it. However, water is the best way to hydrate the body, satisfy thirst and maintain health. If you are craving something fizzy then opt for sparkling water or unsweetened tea over the coke or soda. Fruits and juices are highly recommendable over soda drinks. Consider having mangoes, strawberries, and juices.

diet-soda

FAQs

Why should I stop consuming diet coke?

A lot of evidence exists regarding the fact that the consumption of diet coke may lead to heart problems (heart attack, high blood pressure), diabetes, obesity, dementia. Stroke, liver, and kidney problems.

If diet coke is unhealthy as well so should I start consuming the regular coke instead to satisfy my appetite? 

Not so fast. Although the latest studies and research point to the bad consequences of the consumption of diet coke that doesn’t make regular coke healthier. Try to avoid both of these for a healthier living.

How much amount of diet coke can be safe to consume in a day?

Consuming a can or two of diet coke in a day may be a safe option. On the other hand, it is highly suggested to cut down the consumption of these beverages from life for the better. 

Conclusion:

“Is diet coke healthy?” is a common concern among soda lovers. Over the past few years, many studies have presented views on the bad effects of diet coke. Most of these studies present no concrete evidence of their findings but diet coke is certainly not a healthy beverage option. You should consider switching to sparkling water, tea, and plain water over the diet coke.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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