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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Nutrition & Diet

Question: Diet Soft Drinks


molly - Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:32 pm

:? Are diet soft drinks bad for you? I drink quite a few a day and was wondering if diet soft drinks can cause any long term effects?
Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:39 pm

Hello:
There have been many studies done about diet soft drinks and so far they basically show that there is nothing good about them. They contain a much sodium, which can increase your blood pressure, as well as aspartame which has been linked with cancer more recently. Another problem of diet drinks is that they contain empty calories that are used to replace foods that you should be eating. As a former coke addict myself (diet coke that is :wink: ) I can testify to the addicting aspect of diet drinks. Most persons state they drink them to help them lose weight, when in fact, it tends to do the opposite. The high sodium in them causes water retention which shows as added weight on the scale. By drinking them instead of taking in the nutrients your body needs, your brain causes you to crave food because it needs the vitamins the foods contain, so your appetite actually increases. Also by drinking them you probably are not taking in enough water which is really what your body needs to flush out the toxins that develop through the digestive processes. I personally would recommend you at least cut down on the consumption if not eliminate it all together, which is what I did, because they have no redeeming qualities that I have found in my studies of them.
Kind regards,
Carolyn
jenner - Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:04 am

I am actually not a nurse or a health care professional, but I am a diet soda junkie too. I don't think most diet soft drinks contain an excessive amount of sodium (look at the nutrition facts, I think diet coke says 'very low sodium,' and while the use (and safety) of artificial sweeteners is controversial, diet soft drinks are labeled as such because they do NOT contain 'empty calories' or calories at all (or a very negligble amount, <5/serving). Some diet soft drinks contain caffeine, which is a Diuretic so they may be dehydrating (though recent findings show that the Diuretic effect may not be as significant as once believed). Also, certain types of diet soft drinks-- clear, citrus-flavored sodas in particular-- can contribute to erosion of dental enamel because of their acidity. And finally, drinking a 'diet' beverage does not negate the rest of the meal... that is, you can't order a super-sized fast food meal and a diet soft drink and call it a compromise!

FYI an empty-calorie food is one that provides a lot of energy (calories) but is 'empty' in the sense that those calories hold very little micronutrient value (vitamins and minerals).

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