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Is diet soda really that bad for you? Maybe not

Diet soda might not be as bad for you as previously thought. (Tom Van Dyke / Tribune News Service)
Diet soda might not be as bad for you as previously thought. (Tom Van Dyke / Tribune News Service)
By Karen D’Souza Tribune News Service

Just how bad is diet soda for you? It may be more complicated than you think. There may be hope for zero-calorie tipplers yet.

A spate of recent studies has diet soda lovers fretting over their bubbly beverages. Studies have shown that sucking down diet pop means you may be avoiding sugar and calories but overdosing on chemicals that can be dangerous to your health.

“Just get rid of it,” Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian nutritionist, said in Women’s Health. “It is filled with unhealthy chemicals, including artificial sweeteners, which actually make you crave more calories later.”

The worst news is that diet drinks have been linked to the one thing they are supposed to avoid: getting fat. These sodas may lead to obesity, increased blood pressure and diabetes. Gulp.

But now there is a glimmer of hope for those of us who crave the snap and fizz of a can of diet soda getting cracked open, content in the knowledge that there is a zero calorie elixir to take the edge off the day.

Some experts believe that there may not be a causal relationship between diet soda consumption and health issues. It may be all the other bad habits that people have that really hurt them. If you are a couch potato or a smoker, the diet soda may not be the true culprit.

“Consumers of diet soda who engage in other lifestyle behaviors associated with poor health outcomes are at a greater risk than those who balance their intake of diet soda with other healthful habits,” said registered dietitian Cara Harbstreet, of Street Smart Nutrition as Women’s Health notes. “The variables make it difficult to pinpoint whether diet soda consumption alone is the cause of negative health outcomes, or whether it’s the culmination of a number of factors. I lean towards the latter, since nothing in nutrition or health exists in a vacuum.”

So maybe if you hit the gym before you down that diet soda, it’ll all even out. Cheers.

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