Do you love yourself a Diet Coke break?
With less than one calorie per can, Diet Coke often sounds like a safe option, but it could be harming you in the long run. According to The Sun, these are five surprising ways that the iconic drink could be harming your health.
Diet Coke may be marketed as a "healthy" alternative to regular Coke, but studies have linked the use of artificial sweeteners to weight gain.
A study from 2021 found that sucralose, a sweetener in Diet Coke, can increase food cravings in women and those who are overweight. Professor Kathleen Page told The Sun that "drinking artificially sweetened drinks may trick the brain into feeling hungry, which may, in turn, result in more calories being consumed."
Dark-coloured fizzy drinks, such as Diet Coke, are terrible for your teeth. Dental practice manager Laura Baker-Fawcus, said that fizzy drinks can cause tooth decay, tooth discolouration, and can weaken your teeth and that those which are darker in colour, such as Diet Coke, are particularly bad.
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According to a study on the impact of artificial sweeteners on the body, the consumption of artificial sweeteners is linked to a greater risk of hypertension, stroke, and cardiovascular events.
Data from another French study found that those who regularly consume sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame, had a higher stroke rate than those who did not.
We should clarify, however, that aspartame is regarded as a safe sweetener by the European Union. The EFA "concludes that aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for the general population." The accepted daily intake of aspartame is 40mg per day.
Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have shown a correlation between fizzy drink consumption and Type 2 diabetes. According to the medics, just a couple of glasses of a sugary or diet fizzy drink, such as diet Coke, can raise a person's chance of developing diabetes by 139%.
5. Gut health
It was thought that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame had no impact on the gut, as they contained no carbohydrates, However, a 2014 study found that the consumption of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and acesulfame did, in fact, induce glucose intolerance in mice, by altering their gut microbiome. Another 2019 study has found that the bacteria in the digestive system became toxic when exposed to tiny concentrations of the sweetener.
For guidelines on healthy eating, visit the HSE website here.