Why drink a sugary soda when you could drink a diet soda that has 0 calories and very little, if any sugar? Diet drink consumption has been increasing over the years because there has been an increased need to focus on real dieting. Yet even with 0 calorie drinks, obesity rates are at some of their highest levels ever. What is going on?
About 20% of the U.S. population above the age of 2 consumes diet drinks on a given day.
Diet Soda Facts
On the surface, drinking diet sodas makes sense because sugar sodas are a major source of added sugar in the diet of the average American. When kids are drinking diet sodas and even toddlers are regularly drinking them, however, the problem might not just be a soda problem. It could be an overall nutritional problem instead.
- The percentage of Americans that are consuming diet drinks was similar for females and males at all ages except among 12- to 19-year-olds, where a higher percentage of females than males consumed diet drinks.
- From 1999‒2000 through 2009‒2010, the percentage of persons consuming diet beverages increased.
- A higher percentage of non-Hispanic white persons consumed diet drinks compared with non-Hispanic black and Hispanic persons.
- On a given day, about 3% of Americans have consumed some diet soda, but no more than 8 fluid ounces over a period of 24 hours.
- The percentage of Americans who consume at least 16 fluid ounces of diet soda in 24 hours: 11%.
- White children and adults are 2x more likely to consume diet sodas than their minority demographic counterparts.
- Having higher levels of income increases the amount of diet soda that is consumed. Every 100% a household lives above the poverty line equates to another risk magnifier for consumption.
- 20 million people consume Caffeine Free Diet Coke in a 7 day period.
Despite all of the marketing and all of the excuses, the consumption of diet soda comes down to one reason: addiction. There is the possibility to drink a 0 calorie drink every day in water. Yet people choose diet sodas simply because they can or because they feel driven to do so. Because there aren’t generally calories associated with the beverage, it is seen as fine to consume at any age. There are acids and other items within the soda, however, that can still affect the overall diet of someone and even begin to erode the enamel on the teeth of toddlers and preschoolers.
Why Can’t We Kick The Diet Soda Habit?
- A 2013 Gallup survey found that 24% of Americans regularly drink diet soda, compared to 32% who drink regular soda and 43% who drink no soda.
- Older people are more likely to say they mostly drank it than younger adults –46% of people ages 50 and older admit to regular diet soda consumption.
- 32% of people who regularly consume diet soda still have a BMI percentage that places them into an overweight category.
- Only 19% of diet soda consumers believe that they are at just the right weight.
- On average, for each diet soft drink some drinks per day, they are 65% more likely to become overweight during the next 7 to 8 years.
- Each diet soda contributes a 41% greater risk to becoming obese over the 7 to 8 year time frame.
- Drinking “calorie free” beverages instead of sugary ones does not appear to be helpful against a metabolic syndrome.
If it was only about calories, then drinking diet sodas would make a lot of sense. After all, someone receives the carbonated goodness that a soda can bring without the dietary impact. The problem is that drinking diet sodas actually increases the risk of developing a metabolic syndrome that can actually put people at risk for a number of potential health problems in the future. High fasting glucose numbers, low HDL cholesterol, and elevated blood pressure are all symptoms of this syndrome and every diet soda drinker has a 34% higher risk of developing it over the course of a decade. That’s why a smarter choice might just be to avoid all types of soda no matter what.
It’s Not Just A Weight Issue That Diet Soda May Cause
- In a study of 263,925 adults aged 51-70, individuals who drank soda were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with depression over a period of 10 years.
- The links of depression are stronger in diet soda drinkers than regular soda drinkers when consumption levels are measured.
- In a study of 59,334 pregnant women in Denmark, 1 serving per day of diet drinks was associated with a 38% increased risk of preterm delivery.
- 4 servings of a diet soda per day increased the chances of an early delivery by 78%.
- In a study of 6,814 individuals aged 45-85, the daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 67% increased risk of type II diabetes.
- Women who consumed the most diet drinks had a 121% greater risk of developing type II diabetes in a 14 year French study.
- Each daily serving increased the risk of a diabetes diagnosis by 6% in women, but there has been no observable difference in the development of diabetes in men.
A diet soda might seem like a good choice at the time, but it really isn’t a good choice at all. In some ways, it is almost healthier to drink a regular soda instead of a diet soda. Some might choose to drink canned teas or other beverages, but even these may have an equal amount of sugar in them. Then there’s the potential caffeine content that is in the soda, which may account for the higher levels of premature birth. Study after study has shown that the best choice of fluids is water. If you can’t drink water, then natural juices. As these statistics show, a diet soda should probably be the last think on your list to consume.