10 Things Diet Soda Does to Your Body If You Drink It Regularly

When diet soda came out on the market, it was touted as a healthier version of regular soda. While this myth has since been busted, there are still many people out there who think diet soda is way better for them than other beverage options or even that it’s not having a negative impact on their health at all.

Diet soda is great as a tool to wean yourself off regular soda if you’re trying to be healthier, but it’s important to continue the journey and also eventually stop drinking diet soda, as its risks for your health are still high. Here are just some of the things regularly drinking diet soda can do to your body.

10. Diet soda can cause teeth problems

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You probably know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but even sugar-free sodas are not great for your teeth, because they contain acids that can erode the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity and decay.

Lemon- and lime-flavored drinks are the worst for your teeth, but any diet soda can cause gum issues and tooth sensitivity or decay. And once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t ever grow back, leaving you prone to worse tooth issues down the road.

9. It increases your risk for metabolic syndrome

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Metabolic syndrome refers to a collective set of co-occurring risk factors for heart disease. If you have three or more of the following traits, you are said to have metabolic syndrome: “waist circumference over 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (women), blood pressure over 130/85 mmHg, fasting triglyceride (TG) level over 150 mg/dl, fasting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level less than 40 mg/dl (men) or 50 mg/dl (women), and fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl.”

Metabolic syndrome increases your chances of heart disease and diabetes, among other health conditions. A 2014 study showed that the risk of diabetes increases for every 12-ounce diet soda a person drinks in a day.

8. Diet soda is linked to depression

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Research shows that many sugary drinks are linked to depression, but research shows diet sodas are even worse for your mental health than regular soda, fruit punches, or iced tea.

7. Diet soda is bad for your heart

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Diet soda can cause increased blood pressure and a wide variety of heart health conditions, such as heart attack. A 2012 study showed that people who drink diet soda on a daily basis are 43 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or to die of other blood vessel issues.

6. Diet soda can increase preterm labor risk

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Diet soda consumption can increase blood pressure and other factors that may put you at risk for preterm labor if you’re pregnant. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who drank at least one serving a day of diet soda had a 38 percent higher chance of preterm labor. Those who had at least four diet sodas per day were a whopping 80 percent more likely to experience preterm labor.

5. It might impact your breast milk

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Although artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, which are commonly found in diet sodas, are considered to be safe in moderation for a lactating mother, too much of these ingredients might be harmful to her breastmilk and her baby. Saccharin specifically is one sweetener that is considered unsafe for pregnant and lactating mothers, so watch out for that one. There is little research so far on exactly how these non-nutritive sweeteners might impact babies’ health, but we do know that most of these sweeteners can show up in a mother’s breastmilk after consumption. For now, it’s probably better to avoid them altogether when possible, which means drinking soda as minimally as possible.

4. Diet soda increases your appetite

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Diet soda has been marketed as healthier than regular soda because it contains so much less sugar, but it may have the added side effect of increasing your appetite, which means you may consume more sugar and calories overall.

3. Diet soda decreases bone density

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This is an interesting one, because it appears to only be true for certain types of soft drinks. A 2006 study showed that diet colas, along with regular colas and decaffeinated colas, decreased participants’ bone density by between 3.7 percent and 5.4 percent. According to the study, this appears to be mostly an issue for women.

Other types of diet sodas, however, can still have an impact on your bone density if they’re being consumed as a replacement for drinks that are helpful to bone density, such as milk.

2. It can result in changes to your gut health

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Diet soda causes changes in the natural gut microbiota of your body, which means it changes the balance of normal and healthy bacteria in your digestive system. This causes issues with digestion and hormone regulation, which can cause a wide variety of other health issues. How much of an impact each type of artificial sweetener has on your gut is not well known, but preliminary studies have shown that saccharin, sucralose, and stevia are all capable of altering the gut microbiome.

1. It might increase your risk of cancer

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Because diet soda can cause you to gain weight and mess with the natural metabolic processes of your body, it also puts you at an increased risk for certain types of cancer, namely breast, colorectal, uterine, kidney, and pancreatic cancers. Preliminary research shows diet soda consumption may also increase your risk of urinary and bladder cancers.

For many people, diet soda is okay to have in moderation, but, like most junk foods, it can cause some serious problems if consumed on a regular basis or in high quantities. Every time you drink a diet soda, you’re introducing more toxins into your body that it has to work hard to clean out, so the less you drink it, the more your body will thank you.

Many people don’t even realize the potential health consequences of choices like drinking diet soda until it’s too late to reverse the damage. Do your body a favor now by cutting back on the diet beverages and replacing them with water and other healthier beverages like real fruit juice or milk (both of which should also be consumed only in moderation for most people).

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