Soda, pop, soft drink, Coke…no matter what you call it, all these drinks have one big thing in common: SUGAR!
You may already know that drinking sugar drinks with type 2 diabetes is a no-no, but what about diet sodas? Can you get away with drinking the occasional Diet Sprite without any repercussions?
Let’s take a look at what's really in a diet soda and how those ingredients may impact those with type 2 diabetes.
Diet Sodas May Negatively Impact Health
Most diet sodas get their sweetness from artificial sweeteners – which don’t provide any carbohydrates. Many people switch to diet soda in hopes to decrease their sugar intake while still enjoying the sweetness that a refreshing soda provides.
Unfortunately, the research surrounding these artificial sweeteners has shown that regular consumption may lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria). This is quite contrary to what we might expect.
Some research suggests that the brain reacts to artificial sweeteners much as it does to sugary foods. Ingesting them frequently may result in an increased desire for high-calorie foods such as sugary treats, putting you at a greater risk of weight gain.
Gut bacteria & Sugar Cravings
One major factor with the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda (aspartame, sucralose, Ace-K) is that they may alter our gut bacteria. The bacteria in our gut play a huge role in our health and even helps regulate our glucose levels!
If we consume artificial sweeteners and our gut bacteria is altered, this may impact our glucose response to a non-carbohydrate food. This is because the brain normally associates the “sweet” taste with calories, which is a normal human physiological response.
One hundred years ago if you were consuming something sweet, it contained calories! So when you consume something sweet, even if it doesn’t have any calories, it can activate the process of metabolism; the body may then release insulin and increase blood sugar, even if you have not eaten any carbohydrates.
If you are drinking diet soda, check your blood sugar levels after consuming to see if you notice a rise in your glucose level.
Is It Better To Just Drink Regular Soda?
Regular soda contains excessive amounts of sugar.
When it comes to enjoying soda, it really is a double-edged sword. Regular sugar-loaded sodas are bad because they can cause massive blood sugar spikes, but the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas can also have a negative affect.
The only way to win is to skip sodas altogether and indulge in some healthier alternatives instead.
Healthier Diet Soda Alternatives
You can also check out these 11 cold beverages that taste great but contain zero sugar!
From simple lime spritzers to fancy fruit cocktails to rich chocolate milkshakes, there are plenty of fun, celebratory drinks that aren't sodas.
So don't worry, you won't be stuck drinking plain old water for the rest of your life once you ditch soda. There are so many great options out there.
Conclusion: OK To Drink Diet Soda Sometimes?
If ‘sometimes’ means pretty infrequent, like once a month, that’s not likely to be a huge deal. But if ‘sometimes’ for you means a few times per week, try to cut back.
Ultimately, the choice is yours.
If you feel you are constantly craving sweets, and as a result always reaching for diet soda, try to cut it out for a week to see what happens. It may be your diet soda habit is fuelling your cravings and by removing it you don’t feel the need to have it as often.
Diet soda provides nothing beneficial in terms of nutrition and most of the research shows that the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda may have negative effects on our health.