Here in America, we love our soda, particularly the diet variety. Did you know that on a given day, about one in five of us drink a diet soda or other artificially sweetened beverage? Wow! This is a sad state of affairs, because did you know that soda consumption has been associated with lower bone mineral density in women and children? Studies have been done that focused specifically on the effects of diet soda on bone health. And some of this research was prompted by the observation that diet soda drinker behavior tended to be very different than regular (sugar-sweetened) soda drinker behavior. One thing that really stood out was that women will often use diet sodas in an effort to avoid weight gain and to either to stave off hunger between meals or as a replacement for sugar-laden beverages. This is where the junkie part comes in because it was found that many women drink over 20 diet sodas per week. Yikes! Please tell me this is not you!
Now we all know that calcium is very necessary for healthy bones, so drinking diet soda is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline! This is because when you drink diet soda, research has shown that parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations rise very strongly. This hormone increases blood calcium when it starts to get too low by stimulating the breakdown of bone. This results in calcium being lost from your bones. Not good! Oh yes, studies have also shown that women who drank diet cola excrete more calcium in their urine compared to women who drank water.
There are a few baddies in diet soda, in particular, that contribute to bone loss. For instance, while caffeine has been shown to increase calcium excretion and promote bone loss, it’s not the only villain here. Phosphoric acid, which is an ingredient in cola type drinks, in particular, is problematic. Because studies have shown that women who ingested increasing quantities of dietary phosphorus were found to have increases in markers of bone breakdown and decreases in markers of bone formation. Still want to drink this stuff?
Please ditch the diet sodas (any soda really)! They do nothing for your health and all evidence suggests they will not help with weight loss anyway. Did you know that their intense sweetness disrupts the body’s natural connection between taste and nourishment and so can promote weight gain? Ugh! Diet soda is simply a health destroyer containing water with artificial sweeteners and loads of other additives like the big baddie, phosphoric acid. Then there’s the questionable safety of artificial sweeteners to consider. Why risk your health for a few moments of fizzy pleasure? Hit the water instead and if you must have that fizz, check out the variety of carbonated waters out there that are naturally flavored with fruits like berries. Juts avoid the ones with sweeteners of any kind. To your good health!