What’s the Skinny on Diet Soda and Artificial Sweeteners?

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July 16, 2013

It’s a debate I’ve heard for years. If I want a soda, is it better for me to have one sweetened with artificial sweeteners or with corn syrup or sugar? Diet sodas have artificial sweeteners with no calories.  This is a huge draw for those that are watching their waist or their blood sugar.  The negatives to artificial sweeteners are the aftertaste that artificial sweeteners leave and the concerns over their safety. Sodas sweetened with real sugar or corn syrup are a more natural choice but the calories and spike in your blood sugar make people leery of drinking them.

What’s the Skinny on Diet Soda and Artificial Sweeteners?

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer in humans. Aspartame is the artificial sweetener that is most often used in diet sodas. You will recognize it with the brand names Equal and NutraSweet.

Artificial sweeteners do have side effects though. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can cause stomach issues including gas and diarrhea.When I have too many artificial sweetened sodas, I break out in hives. A study from Purdue University shows that artificial sweeteners in diet sodas and other food may make weight loss more difficult. Is it better to figure in one 200 calorie soda into your diet than drink artificial sweetened diet sodas containing no calories?

There is another brand of diet soda called Zevia that contains Stevia.  Stevia is an all natural herb that contains no calories and has no effect on your blood sugar. Unlike artificial sweeteners, it is all natural.  Unlike sugar or high fructose corn syrup, it’s calorie free. Those not used to using products with Stevia will notice an after taste.  I’ve enjoyed it for years and no longer notice an aftertaste.

The debate over whether or not to choose artificial sweeteners has been going on for years. People on both sides have very strong opinions. While the National Cancer Institute has stated they find no connection between artificial sweeteners and cancer in humans, I definitely don’t think that artificial sweeteners are healthy.  At the same time, consuming 600 calories worth of traditional sodas each day isn’t healthy either.

What’s the best choice?  You decide. I’d probably vote for a big glass of water.

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