First off, let’s give a super quick run-down of everything we learned about regular soda last week. The sugar calories are addictive because they spur your body to produce insulin, but then you start producing too much, a one-way ticket to Type 2 diabetes.
You already knew that? Well, what about how insulin resistance can prevent the liver from clearing toxins out of your body, which leads to fatty liver disease? Or about how phosphates make your bones and muscles weak by literally stealing calcium and protein, like mineral muggers?
We can all agree that soda is bad for you because of the obvious points like sugar and calories causing weight gain and diabetes, in addition to the strange specifics we covered last week.
But what about diet soda, and those new Diet Coke flavors?
Not surprisingly, the reason so many of us believe diet soda is O.K., or at least far better, than regular soda is because of soda companies’ deceptive marketing.
In fact, Coca-Cola started its own nonprofit that funds research stating that it’s not your diet that causes heart problems, but lack of exercise. We know it’s a combination of both factors, but Coca-Cola wants to shift the blame away from soda. This “nonprofit’s” fake research actually gives them a lot of profit, at the end of the day…
There’s a false message being spread that regular soda doesn’t cause heart problems, even though a Tufts University study shows that nearly 50,000 people die each year of heart disease caused by sugary drinks. Also, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis stated, people who drink diet soda daily are about 50% more likely to get metabolic syndrome or diabetes, and that’s what causes heart disease. Too much sugar raises blood pressure!
Wait a minute…It all comes back to sugar, sugar, sugar. Diet soda often says “0 calories and 0 grams of sugar” on the label…No sugar. So it’s safe, right?
As you probably already suspect, the “0 grams of sugar” is not counting artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, Splenda, you know the deal.
Artificial sweeteners are bad, but the actual reason why might shock you. The FDA has approved them because they don’t have any provable extreme bad effects. As you can imagine, companies such as Coca-Cola’s non-profit run with this info. “It’s FDA-approved, so it’s safe!” In combination with marketing new Diet Coke flavors like “Feisty Cherry” and “Ginger Lime” that might sound pretty enticing, they might almost have you on the hook.
Here’s the kicker: artificial sweeteners themselves aren’t provably bad yet, in that there are lots of studies saying one thing and lots saying another. But what these studies don’t dispute is this. Ready?
Diet soda tricks your body into looooving real sugar!
Basically, as a Purdue University shows, when you drink “sugar-free” diet soda, your brain gets all excited and releases insulin and other hormones, because your brain thinks it’s real sugar. Your brain is happy to tell the body to prepare to use and store this sugar.
But then…disappointment. No real sugar! You may have just downed one of the new Diet Coke flavors, but your body never received the sugar it was expecting.
Soon, the more and more you drink diet soda, your brain gets sick and tired of this constant “boy who cried wolf” story where it’s being told sugar is coming, and then no sugar ever comes. (Can’t you sympathize?) The brain says, fine, I guess I can’t trust my signals telling me that sugar is coming. Which means, when real sugar comes, your body releases less sugar-processing hormones than it’s supposed to, which causes a blood sugar spike and a 20% insulin spike!
The story, then, ends the same way: weight gain, diabetes, and then…well, you know what comes next.
The girl in the Diet Coke commercial may be dancing and having fun, but the new Diet Coke flavors are no good for you. The issue of diet soda (and the false info out there that it’s safer!) is as serious as a heart attack.