Diet sodas offer several advantages. If you consume diet versus regular soda, you will save 136 calories per 12-oz. can of cola. This can add up especially if you are drinking more than one can a day. While your intentions may be good, diet sodas may not offer all of the benefits that you may think. The effects of diet soda may in fact have negative health consequences, such as increasing your triglycerides.
What Are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your body that provides a source of energy for life processes. Your diet provides triglycerides, but your body can also produce them. The concern exists with the conditions that high triglycerides may indicate, such as diabetes or kidney disease. In addition, people with high cholesterol will often have high triglycerides as well. Taken as a whole, these factors can increase your risk for heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Consumption of diet sodas may inadvertently heighten this risk.
Effects of Artificial Sweeteners
Diet sodas are sweetened with a variety of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. By consuming diet sodas, you may be training your palate to crave sugary foods, which can lead to weight gain. Your tastes may change so that healthy foods such as fruits are less desirable. Gaining weight can lead to elevated levels of triglycerides.
Diet Sodas and Satiety
Consumption of diet sodas may also impair your body's ability to detect satiety, also leading to weight gain and increased levels of triglycerides. A study by Purdue University in Indiana, published in the February 2008 issue of "Behavioral Neuroscience," found that rats fed a diet containing saccharin consumed greater amounts of calories, leading to weight gain. Your body responds to sweets and associates consumption with caloric intake. In the absence of calories from diet soda, your body expects calories even in their absence because of the effects on your sweet taste receptors. You may still feel hungry and end up consuming more.
Making Good Choices
The amount of diet soda you consume can affect your overweight status and, in turn, triglyceride levels. A study by the University of Texas, published in the 2005 American Diabetes Association annual session abstracts, found that the more serving of diet soda consumed by participants, the greater was the measured body mass index, or BMI. Researchers reported overweight status in 57.1 percent of participants who consumed two or more cans of diet soda per day. If you drink diet soda, limit the amount you consume to avoid the circumstances that can lead to elevated triglyceride levels.