In fact, consuming fizzy drinks can up your risk for diabetes and strokes, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from universities in South Africa.
They found that consuming just two sugar-sweetened drinks a week could increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 42 percent. And one sugar-sweetened drink can significantly elevate blood pressure.
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While agencies set regulatory acceptable daily intakes for food additives, including sugar substitutes found in Diet Coke, to keep people safe, Rahaf Al Bochi, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian and nutritionist and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition said "these drinks do not provide added health benefits or nutrients."
Diabetes and strokes aren’t the only ailments people should be concerned about as it relates to these beverages. Sugary beverages may cause people to crave sweets even more.
“There has been some research that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause us to crave sweets even more because the sweetness intensity is so high,” Love explained. “The brain senses a sweet food coming in but is left both psychologically and physically unsatisfied. There may be an metabolic reaction to the artificial sweeteners, especially sucralose, similar like sugar.”
They could also potentially harm the heart, other research suggests.
Canadian scientists said artificial sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame or sucralose) may actually lead to heart disease, higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure.
Their observational studies showed that the people who consumed low-calorie sweeteners were actually more likely to face an increased chance of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other related cardiovascular issues.
That’s why Love and Al Bochi encourage people to drink water.
“Water is the best drink for people because it’s sugar-free and calorie-free. You can add cucumber slices, lemon or mint to add flavor to your water. Other beverage options include low fat milk, unsweetened tea, and herbal teas,” Al Bochi advises.
Decaffeinated beverages can help with hydration, too. “Food group-based beverages,” Love said, “are good hydrators and give us the benefit of that food group nutrition!”
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