Nothing hits the spot like an ice-cold Coke on a hot day.
But scientists and nutritionists have been constantly sounding the alarm about how our love of soda is destroying our health, putting us at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, for example.
Because of the rising body of research that shows how harmful high sugar levels are for our body, and sodas contain a lot of sugar (35 grams or seven teaspoons of sugar for each can, or 5 grams more than an adult’s recommended daily intake), “diet” drinks with artificial sweeteners have been marketed as the “healthier” alternative. But recent research is now debunking even that.
Scientists from Israel and Singapore discovered last year that six commonly used artificial sweeteners were toxic to gut bacteria.
Gut bacteria have been found to be an important component of a person’s overall health as bad bacteria has been linked to disorders such as obesity, bowel diseases, and even Alzheimer’s.
The study was published in Molecules and tested the relative toxicity of six sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k) and the ten sports supplements that contain them.
It turned out that even tiny concentrations of the sweeteners made the bacteria in the digestive system become toxic.
Furthermore, the toxins were released when the gut bacteria were exposed to every artificial sweetener that was being tested. In fact, it took only 1 mg/ml of the artificial sweeteners to turn the bacteria toxic.
Couple that with the fact that a can of Diet Coke contains around 180 mg of aspartame was enough for scientists to conclude that: “This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues.”
Scientists also revealed in February that consuming two or more artificially-sweetened drinks a day “increases the risk of dying young from stroke and heart attack.” One’s chances of stroke increased by a quarter while chances of heart disease were raised by a third.
Dr. Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, lead author of the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York said: “Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet.
“Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”
To add insult to injury, the main marketing ploy for artificially-sweetened drinks, that they’re supposed to keep you from becoming fat, doesn’t even hold water at all.
In the largest study to date, 56 medical trials were analyzed in Germany early this year and found no evidence that switching from sugary drinks to artificially-sweetened ones could help shed pounds.
The study was led by the University of Freiburg and was published in The BMJ. It also highlighted the fact that little research has been done on the long-term health effects of sweeteners when consumed over years or decades.
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