Diet Soda's Effects on Liver Functions

Most people love the chance to enjoy favorite a soft drink minus the calories, and diet soda is a very popular beverage for dieters, diabetics and people who simply want to avoid extra weight. However, recent research has indicated that soda in general may pose various health risks to consumers. In particular, diet soda is reported to be a risk to the liver.

Diet soda may cause various types of damage to the liver. (Image: MiroTrifonov/iStock/Getty Images)

Fatty Liver Disease

According to a study conducted at Ziv Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, all sodas appear to increase the risk of developing fatty liver disease. Researcher Nimer Assy reported that the aspartame in diet coke may increase insulin resistance and trigger fatty liver disease.

Accumulation of Formaldehyde

The artificial sweetener aspartame, which is used in diet soda, has been reported to have harmful effects on the liver and on overall health. Holistic Med.com cites an animal study conducted at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain. This study, conducted by Trocho et al. and published in the journal "Life Sciences" found that even small doses of aspartame caused the chemical formaldehyde to accumulate in the liver and bind to protein molecules. Holistic Med.com notes that formaldehyde may cause permanent genetic damage with long-term exposure.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

According to the Independent, the preservative sodium benzoate, also known as E211, may cause serious cell damage to the liver and other organs. This additive, which is used in many soft drinks to prevent mold, was reported to cause damage to the mitochondria of DNA, and eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and various other conditions. Although Coca-Cola reportedly phased sodium benzoate out of Diet Coke, it is still used in other diet drinks.

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