Let’s be real: Most of us who choose diet over regular soda probably know, deep down, that its lures are too good to be true. An effervescent elixir of our youth, caffeine-charged, and magically made without sugar and calories — how can that not be too good to be true? Well, like with most things in life, our instincts were right.
One study released this year, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, showed that after a decade of daily soda consumption, those guzzlers were 30% more likely to develop depression than those who didn’t drink soda. The study also noted that the risk appeared greater for those who opted for diet, over its full-calorie counterpart.
Another study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, associated wider waistlines with daily diet soda consumption and showed a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, when compared with those who abstained from diet sodas.
Then there’s the crackhead factor: Excessive soda consumption can cause similar mouth damage and tooth enamel erosion as when one abuses meth or crack cocaine, according to a case study published in General Dentistry. To be fair, the subject drank about two liters of diet soda a day — which is more than most can handle. But, while lesser soda drinkers may not end up with a full-on meth-mouth, acid erosion can still occur.
One of the biggest indicators of diet soda’s detriment was found in a University of Miami and Columbia University joint study released last year, which surveyed 2,500 New Yorkers over a ten-year span. It found that people who drank diet soda daily were more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack, or to have died from vascular disease. This backs up a previous Harvard University study that associated greater risk of stroke with greater low-cal soda consumption.