Soft drinks without sugar are still considered healthier than the sweet version. Carbonated drinks without sugar and without calories, these are two factors that contribute to obesity and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
However, unsweetened diet sodas are not the perfect solution. In fact, it is better to choose soft drinks that are low in sugar rather than drinks without sugar.
Here’s why: One of the few sugary sodas uses aspartame instead of sugar. This sweetener has been the subject of controversy since its introduction in the 1980s because it is believed to present a cancer risk. However, the American Cancer Society thinks the research on this problem is inconclusive, possibly for another reason this sweetener is suspected.
According to a 2008 study published in the Canadian Journal of Digestion, those who drink carbonated drinks containing the sweetener aspartame have a higher risk of fat invading the liver than those who drink regular soft drinks. This prolonged condition can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). During this time, fat builds up in the liver and leads to cirrhosis, also known as end-stage cirrhosis. Eventually, cirrhosis can progress to liver failure without early intervention.
There are also other health concerns related to the artificial sweeteners commonly used in carbonated drinks without sugar. In 2017, a special article on Nutrition Reviews stated, based on reliable data on aspartame over the past two decades, it was concluded that taking aspartame even at safe threshold doses is possible “an imbalance oxidant / antioxidant, loss of oxidative irritation and disruption of the integrity of cell membranes, capable of affecting many types of cells and tissues, deactivating cell function, ultimately leads to systemic inflammation ”.
There are still other reasons to consider drinking sugar-free carbonated drinks every day. One study found that simply drinking a beverage with artificial sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 8%; however, the observer’s general analysis showed that this study only shows correlation and not causation. And another study also suggested that drinking soda with the help of artificial sweeteners may be linked to a 21% higher risk of type 2 diabetes in older women (the study also showed a correlation, no cause and effect).
There are many studies on both fronts as to whether soda pop without sugar is harmful to consumers. What is advice? It is best to limit your consumption of soft drinks in general, with or without sugar. If you can’t resist the urges, you can start cutting it down to 3 cans / week and eventually down to 1 / week.