Study: Diet soda may do more harm than good
July 10th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Study: Diet soda may do more harm than good

Diet soda drinkers have the same health issues as those who drink regular soda, according to a new report published Wednesday.

Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published in past five years that examined the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes. They then published an opinion piece on their findings in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, saying they were “shocked” by the results.

"Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health," said Susan Swithers, the report's author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. “But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.”

Artificial sweeteners in diet soda fulfill a person’s craving for a sweet taste, without the calories. But that's the problem, according to researchers. Think of it like crying wolf.

The fake sugar in diet sodas teases your body by pretending to give it real food. But when your body doesn't get the things it expects to get, it becomes confused on how to respond. While the studies they reviewed only looked at diet soft drinks, the researchers suggest that this could apply to other products that contain artificial sweeteners as well.

"You've messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn't know if it should try to process it because it's been tricked by the fake sugar so many times," says Swithers.

On a physiological level, this means when diet soda drinkers consume real sugar, the body doesn’t release the hormone that regulates blood sugar and blood pressure.

Video: Are diet sodas dangerous to your health?

Diet soda drinkers also tend to pack on more pounds than those who don’t drink it, the report says.

“Research shows that sweet taste can increase appetite and the regular consumption of the high intensity sweetness of artificial sweeteners may encourage sugar cravings and dependence,” says CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis.

The artificial sweeteners also dampen the "reward center" in your brain, which may lead you to indulge in more calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food, according to the report.

The American Beverage Association says the report was "an opinion piece, not a scientific study."

"Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today," the association said in a statement. "They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe."

Diet soda's negative effects are not just linked to weight gain, however, the report says.

It found that diet soda drinkers who maintained a healthy weight range still had a significantly increased risk of the top three killers in the United States: diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

"We've gotten to a place where it is normal to drink diet soda because people have the false impression that it is healthier than indulging in a regular soda," says Swithers. "But research is now very clear that we need to also be mindful of how much fake sugar they are consuming."

There are five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners: acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), neotame, saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low), and sucralose (Splenda).

“Saccharin was one of the first commercially-available artificially sweeteners, and it’s actually a derivative of tar,” says Swithers.

Even natural sweeteners like Stevia, which has no calories and is 250 times sweeter than regular sugar, are still processed extracts of a natural plant and may have increased health risks.

“Just because something is natural does not always mean that it is safer,” says Jampolis.

There more studies and research that need to be done. But in the meantime, experts say: Limit consumption.

“No one is saying cut it out completely,” says Swithers. “But diet soda should be a treat or indulgence just like your favorite candy, not an everyday thing.”

Sugary drinks linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide

[twitter-follow screen_name='daniellecnn']

soundoff (2,282 Responses)
  1. laporan keuangan neraca

    My relatives always say that I am wasting my time here at net, but I know I am getting know-how everyday by reading thes nice content.

    June 13, 2021 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cold stone near me


    June 13, 2021 at 22:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. chevy dealer near me


    June 13, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. boat rentals near me


    June 13, 2021 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. pumpkin patch near me

    Great post! We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    June 13, 2021 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. clothing stores near me

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the best sites on the web. I most certainly will recommend this blog!


    June 13, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. used car dealers near me


    June 14, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 99 cent store near me


    June 14, 2021 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. chick fil a near me


    June 14, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. convenience store near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. malls near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. acupuncture near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 24 hour pharmacy near me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying these details.


    June 14, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. golf course near me


    June 14, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. urgent care near me


    June 14, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. panda express near me

    Very nice post. I definitely love this website. Keep it up!


    June 14, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. daycare near me

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.


    June 14, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. nail salon near me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal blog now 😉


    June 14, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. bao bong da 24h

    Trực Tiếp Soccer Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Coi Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt NamxemvnTrên băng ghế huấn luyện, Lebanon đã bửa nhiệm Ramiro Lopez cách đây 3 tuần. Nhà cầm quân nhân viên Tây Ban Nha công ty yếu làm việc tại Ý và từng có thời hạn thực hiện việc tại Kuwait.|Và NHM bóng đá Việt Nam đang chờ Minh Trí cùng đồng đội hóa giải đối thủ để tạo lợi thế mang đến trận lượt về sau đây hai ngày. Chelsea đã cần trải qua 8 phút bù giờ không thở được bảo đảm an toàn thắng lợi.


    June 14, 2021 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. laundry near me

    I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    June 14, 2021 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. shell near me


    June 14, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. vet near me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    June 14, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. big 5 near me

    That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 14, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. chicken near me

    There is definately a great deal to know about this topic. I like all the points you made.


    June 14, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. clothing stores near me

    After looking into a number of the blog posts on your website, I honestly appreciate your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site too and let me know what you think.


    June 14, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. brewery near me


    June 14, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. uhaul near me


    June 14, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. discount tires near me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 14, 2021 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. big lots near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. american restaurants near me


    June 14, 2021 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    June 14, 2021 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 14, 2021 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it!

    June 14, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Camper Repairs Near Me

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    June 14, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your blog.


    June 14, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 14, 2021 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 14, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Near Me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your website.


    June 14, 2021 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Nearby

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your web page.


    June 15, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Nearby RV Repair

    Hi! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I am returning to your blog for more soon.


    June 15, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 15, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 15, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Nearby

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ


    June 15, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    Itís hard to find well-informed people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 15, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repairs Nearby

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is also very good.


    June 15, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you've made.


    June 15, 2021 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having issues with your RSS. I donít know why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    June 15, 2021 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 15, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

Leave a Reply to Ward Ladebauche


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.