Regular soda or diet soda? You must have come across such situations often where you had to choose between these two. Which one is less harmful and what is the wiser choice, let’s learn something about diet soda.
Diet sodas were first introduced in the 1950s. They were meant for people who had diabetes and couldn’t afford the large quantity of sugar present in sodas. Later they became a popular choice for people who were trying to lose weight but couldn’t give up soda drinks for some reason.
Diet or zero versions are available in all kinds of beverages out there. The secret is that they use artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, cyclamate, or saccharin. These artificial sweeten;ers are usually proteins or amino acids that are much sweeter than ordinary sugar but have fewer calories. So, you need a significantly lower amount to achieve the same sweetening effect.
Another advantage is that they usually cannot be digested or broken down by the body, which means they don’t provide the body with any calories. Though they have zero calories, they also do not provide you with any nutrition whatsoever because the body does not digest them.
For example, Diet Coke is sweetened with aspartame. Aspartame is a protein that tastes 200 times sweeter than sugar. Aspartame has four calories per gram, just the same as regular sugar. But because it’s much sweeter, you require much less aspartame (1/200th) to make a drink that has the equivalent sweetness. Assuming that one can of regular Coke has 150 calories, then one can of Diet Coke would have less than one calorie. So, labeling laws allow Coke to label itself as having 0 calories.
Calories or energy comes from products that can be broken down by the natural processes of the body. Regular sugar is an excellent source of this energy and hence provides a large number of calories in the soda. While diet soda lacks any such products, it is, therefore, calorie-free.
Another artificial sweetener is Splenda. It also tastes much sweeter than sugar, so you need to use less of it. But also, Splenda cannot be digested by the body, so it effectively has 0 calories. This is the same principle as for other diet products.
Do Diet Sodas Aid in Weight Loss?Any Side Effects?
It is natural to assume that diet sodas do not contain any sugar or digestible material, so they have zero calories and hence help in losing weight. But it is not as simple as it sounds. Diet sodas have artificial sweeteners that alter your sweet taste receptors. They increase appetite by stimulating hormones and in effect, could make you gain weight. But all these findings are subjective. People who consume diet sodas have been shown to have lesser weight gain than people who had regular sodas.
Soda in essence, whether diet or regular soda, is harmful to the body and is not recommended in large quantities as it may cause liver and kidney damage as well as make you more prone to diabetes and various heart diseases. Replacing regular soda with diet soda won’t make a significant difference as they both are essentially the same; the only hazard it lacks is that of carbohydrates.