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Cholesterol & Diet Soda

author image Ollie Odebunmi
Ollie Odebunmi's involvement in fitness as a trainer and gym owner dates back to 1983. He published his first book on teenage fitness in December 2012. Odebunmi is a black belt in taekwondo and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.
Cholesterol & Diet Soda
Diet sodas may carry unexpected health risks. Photo Credit: Siraphol/iStock/Getty Images

Ever since their inception in the 1950s, and 60s, diet sodas have grown in popularity as people seek to reduce sugar consumption and the health risks associated with excess sugar in the diet. The beverage and diet industries took advantage of this opening, and the desire of people to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. However according to the National Institute of Health News,diet sodas may also have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels.

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The first diet soda was created in 1952 by Kirsh Beverages. According to the historical website,, No Cal, which came in two flavors, ginger ale and black cherry, was marketed primarily to women seeking to lose weight. In 1962, the Royal Crown Cola Company introduced Diet Rite Cola to the market, and the battle-lines for the sugar-free beverage market were drawn, as Coca-Cola later introduced its low-calorie alternative, Tab.


According to BBC Health, the risk of developing heart problems lies in high levels of LDL or low- density lipoproteins, high levels of triglycerides--fat in the blood stream--and low levels of HDL or high-density lipoproteins. LDL also known as bad cholesterol, carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells. Too much deposited in the cells leads to high cholesterol and heart problems. HDL also known as good cholesterol transports cholesterol from the cells to the liver where it is broken down and excreted.


Diet sodas offer you the opportunity to enjoy your favorite beverages without the excess calories. However there are some doubts regarding diet sodas. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults who regularly consume diet or regular sodas may be prone to developing a variety of health problems including weight gain, heart problems, decreased levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, and increased levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol.


Reported in NIH news, Elizabeth Nabel, M.D., and director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, acknowledges the health risks associated with increased calories and sugar in sodas, but the link between diet sodas, poor health and high cholesterol is not as clear cut. Ramachandran Vasan, M.D., professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine believes a factor may be people who drink soft drinks are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and do less exercise.


An analysis of the ingredients of a can of diet soda shows nothing nutritious, but a long list of chemicals. The commonly used sweetener, aspartame, has been linked with weight gain, increased risk of cancers, and other health problems. In June 2007, 12 U.S. environmental health experts including Dr. Carlos A. Camargo, Jr., of the Harvard Medical School, and Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, wrote to the FDA requesting a review of the potential health risks of aspartame.

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