What Happens To Your Body When You Give Up Diet Drinks?

Many people choose to consume diet drinks instead of their full-fat alternative - but these might be worse for us than we first thought.
Credit: Alamy

Many people choose to consume diet drinks instead of their full-fat alternative – but these might be worse for us than we first thought.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently warned that aspartame sweeteners may be a potential carcinogen, stirring up intense debates.

Aspartame is a prominent ingredient in chewing gums and diet sodas, and the upcoming announcement by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on July 14 is expected to classify its carcinogenicity.

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The IARC’s assessment will categorise aspartame into one of four possible groups: carcinogenic to humans, probably carcinogenic to humans, possibly carcinogenic to humans, or ‘not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans’.

Regardless of the final classification, it is crucial to note that consuming diet sodas already carries known health risks.

Many people believe that diet sodas are a healthier alternative and consume them regularly, sometimes leading to addiction.

But quitting diet drinks can have several positives effects on the body, so let’s take a look:

Improved cognitive function

The chemicals in artificial sweeteners can alter brain chemicals and nerve signals, potentially leading to headaches, anxiety, and insomnia.

Studies on rats have shown that diet soda consumption damages brain nerve endings responsible for motor skills.

Enhanced taste perception

Diet sodas overwhelm taste buds with excessive sweetness due to the high intensity of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Brain scans have demonstrated that sweeteners confuse sugar receptors, prolonging cravings for sugar.

Easier weight loss

While many turn to diet sodas in an attempt to shed pounds, evidence suggests that they may not assist in weight management.

A nine-year study found that older adults who consumed diet soda experienced weight gain around their midsection.

Another study revealed that daily diet soda consumption increases the risk of obesity by 65 per cent within the next decade.

Stronger bones

Post-menopausal women who regularly drink soda have been found to have lower hip bone density. Giving up diet sodas can contribute to stronger bones and reduce the risk of fractures.

Improved kidney function

A comprehensive 11-year study discovered that women who consumed two servings of diet soda per day had an increased risk of developing kidney function issues.

The kidneys work harder to process the additional chemicals present in diet sodas.

Quitting diet sodas allows the kidneys to focus on toxin clearance, stabilising blood pressure, and mineral absorption.

Reduced diabetes risk

Research published in Diabetes Care suggests that consuming a diet soda before a meal stimulates the pancreas to release excessive amounts of insulin, the hormone responsible for fat storage.

When the pancreas becomes overworked and produces too much insulin, the risk of developing diabetes increases.

The WHO’s upcoming assessment of aspartame sweetener sheds light on potential carcinogenicity, adding to the ongoing debate surrounding its safety.

Regardless of the outcome, individuals should be aware of the existing health risks associated with diet soda consumption.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.