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Are Diet Soft Drinks a Health Hazard?

I have to confess that I’m not a diet soft drink fan. I know it’s often said that the higher sugar drinks are bad for me but the diet or low sugar varieties just seem to be lacking somewhat – I don’t know whether it’s the flavour, the sugar rush or something else, but they definitely don’t hit the spot as far as I’m concerned.

Now I feel suitably justified in having my sugar rush sodas as research undertaken in the USA shows there’s may be a link between diet drinks and depression.  The research was conducted on a large scale - more that 250,000 human guinea pigs were used over a 10 year period and it appears that depression was more prevalent in those people drinking soda or fruit juice with artificial sweeteners than those who drank the higher sugar versions. 

According to this research, those people who consumed four cans or glasses of diet soda or artificially sweetened fruit juice a day were around 30% more likely to suffer from depression than those who had natural sugar varieties. 

On the other hand, the researchers found that if you cut out some of your daily intake of low sugar drinks and replace with the odd cup of unsweetened coffee then this may reduce the risk of depression.

The most popular artificial sweeteners in our food and drink are aspartame and saccharin and, over many years, they have been rigorously and regularly tested so the powers that be maintain they’re not a health  hazard. 

Needless to say, these “powers that be” still maintain that this latest research isn’t conclusive and have put forward the argument that people suffering from depression and who consume diet drinks may initially have been overweight or suffering from diabetes which, of course, can add to their feelings of being down in the dumps.

So, once again the jury’s out on yet another health issue and, once again, I’m going to remain here sitting on the fence.  As I see it, provided you drink soda in moderation (whether it be the full on version or the diet) and don’t overdo it you should be relatively safe. 

I, for one, won’t be changing my high sugar sodas for the diet variety but then I only have a couple of glasses a week.  My fruit juices are pure and even my canned fruit is in natural fruit juice.  As far as drinking the odd cup of coffee is concerned, I’m not worried either way - some people say it’s bad as far as your heart etc are concerned and yet it seems that a few cups a day may lessen the likelihood of depression - I tend to have two cups a day; one mid morning and one following my evening meal but, being typically English, I far prefer a more refreshing cup of tea with just a small amount of semi-skimmed milk. It has less caffeine than coffee and has some “calming” qualities by all accounts!

And then of course, the other thing to consider in this weighty matter is whether you want to cut out the drinks you enjoy and give you pleasure “just in case” you end up with depression.  Logic would suggest that you carry on with your current regime and, if you start to feel a bit down, then try to cut out some of the artificially sweetened soda/juice and see if it makes you feel any better!!  Or is that theory just a little bit too simple for the highly educated professors who have researched the matter?

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  1. Excellent post. In India many parents are discouraging diet soft drinks because it is becoming a addiction. However, most contributing factors are related to lifestyle. Consumption level of diet soft drinks has gone up significantly since the internet explosion. I mean , every other kid sitting in front of a comp in a cyber cafe or at home in is munching on unhealthy snacks and sipping sodas. Lack of activity has made us slaves.

  2. I was always under the impression that diet soda was better for you. I, to am like you about diet drinks. I don’t like the way the colas taste. I can drink diet gingerale but my mom only buys little bottles for when my abdomen is upset and she gets the regular one. I do drink once in a blue moon, a Pepsi with 60% less sugar. It is not diet ut it doesn’t let you gain weight as easily with a regular cola.
    Great article. I can always count on your articles being GREAT!

  3. Really good article. Diet soda is horrible for you. Soda of any kind is not good for you, no good in it, health wise. I very rarely drink any of it and never drink diet. I do occasionally have a small glass of ginger ale, made with real ginger or a club soda with a twist of lime, lemon or orange but that is the extent of my soda drinking. Those artificial sweeteners and all the other junk are hazardous to your health and if they don’t get you the caffeine and other additives will.

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