Diabetes is such a health condition where you might never know what to eat and what not to eat. The bottom line for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is to avoid foods and drinks which can cause a spike blood sugar levels. Apart from keeping a check on sugary foods, it is also important to keep a check on the intake of your carbs in order to properly manage diabetes. Nutritionists and health experts say that eating the right kind of healthy foods can help in reversing type 2 diabetes. Overweight and obese people are more prone to risks of diabetes. Obesity is in fact, one of the leading causes of diabetes. Processed foods which are high in preservatives, sugar, unhealthy fats can contribute to weight gain, obesity and ultimately, diabetes. Similarly, drinking sugary drinks is equally harmful for people with diabetes. However, diet soda is a drink which many diabetics would think of resorting to.
They claim to be low in calories and sugar and are often considered as good alternative to sugary drinks. But is that true?
A doctor, on the condition of anonymity, mentions that they don’t recommend anything beyond water for people with diabetes. But that does that mean that diabetics won’t crave for any other drinks? He says that you can have such drinks occasionally. “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain sugar-free drinks and soda. Instead of having sugary drinks, we recommend having diet soda, but in limited quantities. So, we are not saying no to diet soda for people with diabetes. But it has to be kept under control,” he says.
Drinks like diet soda have artificial sweeteners. Whether artificial sweeteners are good for health or no, it has been discussed widely. FDA regulates artificial sweeteners as food additives. It reviews and studies artificial sweeteners before they are out in the markets. Aspartame and saccharin are the two sweeteners which are commonly found in diet sodas, which are both reviewed and approved by FDA.
Furthermore, the American Diabetes Association has listed diet sodas as safe and an alternative to other sugary drinks.
Are there any health risks associated with diet soda?
It is one thing that certain food and drinks are considered to be safe for people with diabetes. But a food or drink which is safe needn’t necessarily be nutritious. Similar is the case with diet sodas, which are far from being nutritious. Unsweetened iced tea or infused water are instances of other drinks which diabetics can have occasionally. They can have milk and fruit juices, which contain carbs but are more nutritious than diet sodas.
Carbonated cola drinks can pose health risks like bone fractures. Incidence of such issues is higher among people with diabetes. Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners can spike insulin in the body. They trigger sweet receptors in stomach. This can be risky diabetics who are on certain medications.
Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners in diet soda. A study found that aspartame can cause oxidative stress which can disturb functioning of liver and kidney function in diabetic mice. Also, aspartame has been linked to increasing glucose intolerance in obese people. This can further increase risks of diabetes.
Thus, there are both pros and cons of diet soda for people with diabetes. While it contains fewer carbs and calories than other carbonated drinks, it contains no nutritional benefit at all. It can help in reducing sugar cravings without any sugar overload, but it is full of unhealthy additives. Drinking diet soda means consuming fewer calories, but still its long-term intake can cause weight gain and other health risks. Lastly, intake of diet soda or regular soda has been associated with increased risks of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Nonetheless, it is difficult to survive on water and people do need to indulge in such drinks once a while. But then, the consumption should be strictly in limited quantities.