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.
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.
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.
One researcher says, “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.”
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.
Sugary drinks are linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide.