For people around the world, soda is the choicest beverage that can be easily found anywhere and everywhere. The low calorie variant of this beverage, also known as diet soda, is the “go to drink” for people who are seeking a healthier alternative. Read on to know, how safe is this low carb alternative and should you stick to regular soda if ever you happen to grab one.

Almost all popular carbonated beverages have a low calorie or diet version for the health conscious population. In these beverages, the sugar is replaced with an artificial sweetener such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose or cyclamate. Despite providing negligible calories, these variants of carbonated beverage are at the center of controversy as they contain artificial or natural sweeteners, carbonated water, and other additives.

There are studies that have found, these artificial sweeteners laden diet sodas if consumed in high amounts are associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Digging deep, it was revealed in some of the research that diet soda may lead to an increased appetite by stimulating the hunger hormones, alter the sweet taste receptors, and trigger dopamine response in the brain. However, there are no conclusive studies to support this claim.

Diet soda is also associated with the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. One study claims that consuming just one serving of this artificially sweetened beverage per day may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Another study has reported that even one serving of diet soda if consumed every day, may increase the risk of getting high blood pressure by 9%. However, these studies were observational and more experimental data is required to support these claims.

Another study found that people who consume more than seven servings of diet soda in a week nearly doubled their risk of developing kidney disease, as the high phosphorus content in these sodas increased the kidney load. Consuming diet soda during pregnancy has been significantly associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery by as high as 11%. Apart from that, consuming artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy has also been found to increase the risk of childhood obesity. Though, more studies are required to support these findings.

There is a sea of many other controversial studies that report, diet soda may reduce fatty liver, slightly increase lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, alter the gut flora, affect blood sugar control by the body, reduce bone mineral density in women, results in dental erosion, and lead to depression. For most of the studies, the result holds true for both regular and diet soda, and more research is required to back these claims.

With the majority of findings being conflicting in nature and lack of support from experimental studies, it is clear that a lot needs to be factually confirmed before making any claim. However, it is true that diet soda is nutritionally weak and in case you are looking for a beverage, picking the ones that will nourish your body is a far better thing to do.