Can All Sodas, Even Diet Ones, Decrease Your Life Expectancy?
Very interesting research has emerged about sodas and how they affect our bodies. A recent study set out to determine if soda consumption reduced a person’s life expectancy, and if so, was diet soda any better?
The surprising conclusion was that all sodas, even diet sodas that contain no sugar, may have a significant detrimental effect on life expectancy. But if diet soda was created to address, in part, sugar-related excess weight, why would it also be problematic?
The answer is simple.
While it is true that diet soda eliminates sugar and associated calories – 100, 140, 160 or even more per can, it does not eliminate sweetness. That is because the artificial sweeteners typically used in diet sodas still stimulate the brain’s pleasure signals much in the way that sugary sodas do. Ultimately, even though the body is not receiving sugar, it’s still craves it.
Case in point – you may have been in a restaurant or fast food joint and had a diet soda only to counteract that with more food than you would normally eat. The justification, of course, is that you’re saving calories on one and so why not splurge on the other? Unfortunately, this often results in realizing that you’ve consumed many more calories than you eliminated – the net result, excess weight.
All sodas have a some other dirty secrets too.
- Their carbonation makes them highly acidic, which can hasten tooth decay. The periodontal disease that results can negatively affect cardiovascular health, as gum bacteria can seep into the blood stream.
- Diet soda can actually increase the risk of diabetes and gastrointestinal issues by negatively impacting important gut bacteria.
- Soda seems to affect the kidneys negatively as well. Why? We’re not quite sure, but the theory is that the phosphorous contained in most sodas causes new or worsened kidney issues, especially in those who have existing kidney problems.
Back to the study
The very interesting part about the study is what we refer to as confounding factors – the situations and circumstances that may make the results of the study skewed or inaccurate. And there is one very interesting factor in play. Typically, those who drink diet soda are doing so to get “healthier” – and they believe that this is a way to start eliminating sugar. It could stand to reason that someone who is trying to get healthier is most likely in less than optimal health. Therefore, it can be extrapolated that those who drink diet soda are typically in poorer health and may have a reduced lifespan.
Our take is that diet sodas are certainly better than sugared sodas, but they’re still not good. Further, bariatric patients shouldn’t be drinking soda at all as caffeinated sodas can irritate the pouch and the carbonation can even cause the pouch to stretch (causing potential long-term effects, beyond being extremely uncomfortable)
Bottom line? Avoid soda altogether!