These days, when someone asks for a cola, it is common to hear an add-on, ‘Make that a diet, please’.

From Coke to Pepsi and Sprite, almost every popular sugar-sweetened beverage on the market has a “light” or a “diet” version. But are they really good for weight loss?

Diet sodas are carbonated beverages. Instead of sugar, they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose. While there is some research to show these substitutes can be harmful, diet beverages are known to cause health issues, including:

Bone weakness

Diet beverages are high in phosphate, which may interfere with your calcium levels. According to an article in the American College of Sports Medicine, drinking diet beverages daily may increase your chance of fracture from a fall by three to four times. Additionally, too little calcium can cause osteoporosis.

Weight gain

If you choose diet soda to avoid sugar calories or to lose weight, you may be unwittingly hurting your efforts. Research has shown people who consume artificially sweetened beverages over sugared beverages actually have higher body weight and are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The reasons aren’t clear, but it could be that sweet, non-caloric food and drink throws off the body’s natural metabolic responses.

Skin damage

High intake of diet soda can also cause early ageing, as it reduces the body’s ph levels. Soda drinkers tend to cut down on milk products and other minerals that nourish the skin, which can cause wrinkles and dull your skin.

Heart, stroke and diabetes-related problems

Drinking too much diet soda can increase the risk of heart attack. Even diet sodas have sugar and it aggregates harmful lipids in the blood increasing the risk of stroke. The high level of sugar disturbs the insulin level in diabetic patients and that, in turn, can cause metabolic disorders, weight gain, cataracts, etc.

Fear of miscarriage

Diet sodas have caffeine and consumption of more than 200 mg of caffeine daily by pregnant women can increase the risk of miscarriage as a fetus cannot metabolise caffeine easily. Most pregnant women are asked to avoid diet sodas.

There are many other side effects to diet soda that can cause significant health problems. Which is why you should stop thinking it’s good for health just because it has ‘diet’ in its name and cut down on your consumption of it. Instead, drink a glass of fresh fruit juice or just cold water which will help flush out the toxins in your body.

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Written by Ritu Puri

Ritu Puri

A fruit a day keeps the stress away, says Ritu Puri who has a simple philosophy about good living – a healthy diet equals a happy life.
Puri, who battled weight issues, acne and other feminine health issues as an adolescent, managed to overcome these problems through changes in diet and lifestyle. Her success prompted her to pursue the subject professionally, leading her to a BSc in Home Science followed by an MSc in Food and Nutrition from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. A training programme with All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), a year at Fortis Hospital and work experience with the Nutrition Foundation of India (NFI), the dietician hopes to one day cure or control serious diseases and disorders with a healthy diet.
Like HealthifyMe, her goal is to keep her clients fit and healthy, and to get started on that path, she recommends choosing natural foods over processed ones. Healthy living is when a person is mentally, socially and physically fit, she says. So reach out to Ritu if you’re looking for wholesome makeover.

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