Diet sodas - healthy or harmful?

By Elizabeth Temple - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – Zero or low calorie soft drinks may put your conscience at ease, but numerous studies show a link between the sodas and cancer, stroke, heart attack and kidney problems. The problem is weeding through all of the studies and finding the facts.

"Any study you look at there's going to be so many variables. It is so hard to get a clean cut survey where you can look at it and say, 'ok based on the findings here it does x-y-z.' It is really hard to find that," explained Samantha Rider, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Christus St. Patrick Hospital.

She warns diet drinks may replace a more nutritious option, especially if that is how you start you day.

"Skipping a meal period is harmful, but if you wake up and drink a diet beverage instead of eating you pose a risk of your blood sugar dropping," said Rider.

Even Rider cannot resist a soda every now and then, and she adds women have a higher consumption of diet drinks.

She points out diet drinks are not the only culprits, regular sodas can also cause or aggravate health problems.

"What are you really getting from a regular soda, you're getting sugar...lots and lots of it and you are not getting any vitamins or minerals," explained Rider.

Dark colored drinks can also pose a problem. The tannins can block iron absorption, said Rider.

"A lot of times I'll tell people if you like a diet drink please have it between your meals not with your meal," said Rider.

Acidity is another issue that can ware down teeth, your esophagus and stomach, but Rider added moderation is key.

"A couple a day is something that doesn't seem like it will be as harmful. I do think that a large amount could cause problems," said Rider.

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