Diet soda linked to diabetes and heart disease

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    The beverage findings should be “a wake up call to pay attention to diet sodas,” says Dr. Steven Greenberg, according to an AP article on diet soda. (Flickr - PaysImaginaire)

    New study shows diet soda affects the kidneys ability to filter toxins, increases risk of developing type II diabetes and heart disease. (Flickr – PaysImaginaire)

    Diet sodas have been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

    Diet sodas and soft drinks have been linked with a number of very serious health issues. Daily consumption of diet soda has been linked to a significantly greater risk of type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that can lead to coronary artery disease, and stroke, according to a study published by The American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    If we drink diet soda every day, we increase our risk of developing type II diabetes by a huge 67 percent. The risk of developing the conditions that lead to heart disease can increase by 36 percent, according to the ADA study.

    New research shows diet soda also affects the kidneys, which was discovered just last year. It turns out it is worse for women who are consuming 2 or more diet sodas a day, as it adversely affects the function of the kidneys. The kidneys ability to filter toxins declines over time the study noted in Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

    Elderly people even gain weight when consuming diet sodas. One study examined the long-term effects, over 9 years, of diet soda consumption by the elderly between the ages of 65-74. The outcome was “striking”. Those who drank diet soft drinks experienced a 70 percent increase in waist circumference compared to non-diet soda consumers. The average overall increase was 5 times greater than those who didn’t consume diet soda, as reported at the ADA 71st. Scientific Sessions.

    Questions have been raised as to whether the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas cause cancer. Some early studies had shown that rats fed high doses of the artificial sweeteners (saccharin & aspartame) did indeed develop cancer.

    However these links did not seem to be the same for humans. Whether there is a link between increased intake of artificial sweeteners such as Equal, NutraSweet and Saccharin and certain types of cancer, the evidence it still not conclusive. This is discussed at length by The National Cancer Institute fact sheet on artificial sweeteners and cancer.

    Soda represents the largest single food source of calories in the U.S. diet. In other words of the calories we consume daily, soda provides the largest percentage. It is well known that overconsumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks increases the risk of obesity. Regular sodas contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is used as the sweetener.

     “Coincidentally or not, the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States parallels the increase in sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption.”

    This was discussed in a JAMA article: Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drinks, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes.

    It is clear the damage that over consumption of sodas, diet or otherwise can do to our health. As much as we imagine that replacing regular soda with a diet soda is ‘better’ for us, we need to think before we drink.

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