Dangers of Diet Soda
Americans consume more than 4 billion gallons of diet soda every year. While most people believe that diet soda is a better alternative to regular soda, the opposite may actually be true. A new study found that people who drank as little as just one diet soda per day are at a 48 percent higher risk for vascular events like heart attacks and strokes. Most people believe that diet soda is healthier for weight loss because it has 0 calories, compared with regular soda, which can have as much as 250 calories per serving. However, diet soda can actually lead to weight gain. The cause of these health problems in diet soda drinkers is a chemical called aspartame, which is used as a 0 calorie sugar substitute.
Although Aspartame sounds like a great alternative to high calorie sugar, it can do a lot of harm to the body. When Aspartame is ingested, it works like a neurotransmitter, tricking the brain into thinking that it is consuming sugar, causing the body to release insulin to break down the sugar. However, since there is no actual sugar in the system, the insulin has nothing to break down, and the body begins to crave more sugar. As a result, you feel the need to consume more aspartame, which creates a vicious cycle of cravings.
Three of the biggest health risks that are associated with regular consumption of aspartame are weight gain, depression, and cancer. Due to it’s effect on blood sugar, aspartame can cause weight gain. Even though diet soda has no calories, it typically causes more weight gain in those that drink it than in those who drink regular soda. The chemical can also cause increased or worsened symptoms of depression on those that already suffer from it.
Since aspartame causees overexcitement of neurons, cells become overactive and may become damaged. When damaged cells multiply, they cause tumor growth, or cancer. Since aspartame is not a type of molecule that the body would ever naturally encounter, it does not know how to properly deal with excess amounts of it in the system.
Unfortunately, while aspartame is most commonly found in high amounts in diet soda, it is also an additive to many other packaged foods and drinks. Cutting these foods and drinks out of your diet may be easier said than done. Aspartame withdrawal can take anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. Withdrawal from this chemical can cause lethargy, nausea, and headaches in the short term. However, cutting out diet soda and other sources of aspartame from your diet is well worth it for those who are trying to lose weight and want to live a healthier lifestyle.