The Downside to Diet Drinks: What to Tell Your Patients

  • At the time, it was thought these alternatives were safe and healthy, but we now have more information, which shows diet drinks have some negative side effects.
  • Diet sodas contain one or more artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. These chemicals confuse the body, causing it to think it is actually getting a dose of glucose, but instead it is an artificial chemical.
  • Studies have shown diet drinks can cause headaches and even migraine.
  • The citric acid in diet sodas is very hard on teeth, weakening the tooth enamel. In 2013, CBS news reported that drinking diet sodas takes a huge toll on oral health. “Drinking diet soda for years takes a toll on the teeth that’s comparable to years of smoking crystal meth or crack cocaine,” Michelle Castillo reported for the network.
  • The National Institutes of Health report diet sodas are linked to bone density loss in older adults.
  • Instead of losing weight, diet sodas are now widely believed to cause weight gain.
  • The British Journal of Nutrition, revealed people who drink diet sodas raise their risk of type 2 diabetes by about 13% for each 12-ounce can they drink daily.
  • David DiSalvo wrote in Forbes magazine, “Diet sodas could imbalance the bacterial jungle in our guts—the microbiome—causing unpredictable results. Since there’s a bacterial superhighway from gut to brain, which we know interacts with key neurotransmitters, this theory may eventually tell us more of a much bigger brain story.”
  • Suggest the patient reduce and ultimately stop consuming diet soda drinks. Gauge their reaction. If the patient agrees, then offer support and encouragement.

    Tell your patient to drink more water to stay hydrated. Ask the patient to pay attention to how he or she feels when diet soda is eliminated. Most diet soda drinkers are taking in a lot of caffeine, so there might be side effects when stopping.

    However, if they can get past the initial discomfort, most former diet soda drinkers say their taste buds are more sensitive and food tastes better. They often report improved sleeping, clearer skin, and although it is counter-intuitive, many people report having more energy. Finally, giving up diet soda can often lead to weight loss, which is ironically why most people began drinking it in the first place.