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On Second Thought, a Glass of Water Sounds Good

July 12, 2013

Diet soda is big with Americans.  According to a 2010 U.S. Centers for Disease Control study, approximately one in five of us consume the stuff on any given day.  Per Beverage Digest, a trade publication, Coca-Cola and Pepsi sold a combined 1.8 billion cases in 2010.  I’d guess that all things equal, more of us would reach for the real thing – the sugary drinks.  They just taste better, wouldn’t you say?    The taste of diet soda is not so much acquired by those who drink it, but rather simply accepted as part of an attempt to reduce sugar consumption, maintain weight or for other general health considerations.

Don't get left behind

Don’t get left behind

Diet Rite, an RC Cola product, was the very first national brand diet soda.  Distribution began in 1958, over fifty years ago.  Other labels soon followed, including Tab, Coca-Cola’s first entry into the market.  Tab was marketed with the constant reminder that it tasted good.z69

Over the years, investigators have run a number of studies to gather data on the effect of these products on our bodies.  Cyclamate, an artificial sweetener favored by some of the early manufacturers and still available in some markets outside the U.S., was banned by the U. S. FDA after lab animal studies indicated potential for toxicity in humans.  There was a lot of controversy over this ruling. The compound’s owner, Abbott Laboratories, fought hard but was unsuccessful in getting the decision turned over.  Today, aspartame is the high-intensity artificial sweetener that is used in the most popular diet sodas.

Susan E. Swithers, a professor at Purdue, recently published a review of in vivo clinical studies that considered the consumption of high-intensity artificial sweeteners.  Swithers’ paper indicates that frequent consumption of these products may interfere with our bodies learned responses to calories based on sweetness.  The outcome is the counterintuitive effect of creating metabolic disorders.  How counterintuitive, you ask?  Well, in addition to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (a combination of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels and excess body fat around the waist), a couple studies indicate that those who drink these beverages may be at risk for weight gain!

The paper points out that these increased risks are not dissimilar from risks we intended to avoid by switching from the sugary drinks to the “diet” versions.

A glass of water anyone?

From → Consumption, Health

  1. Diet soda has always been a MAJOR pet peeve. As is regular soda, now that I think about it.


  2. as a former diet soda addict, i stopped drinking it 17+ years ago. the first week was hard, but haven’t looked back since. I think my weight and skin are healthier for it, lma


    • Oh, I have no reason to doubt that.

      I shudder when I think back on all of the pop I once consumed. And if I may say so, that pretty black cat must be off the stuff also. The mat in the last photo looks like a cartoon “thought cloud.” A cat dreaming of a yummy snack.


      • now that you mentioned it, i cannot look at that mat without thinking of a cartoon thought cloud! too funny,. thanks for checking us out and come back often, xo LMA


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