With a Diabetes diagnosis, the noble doctor is kind enough to rattle off a list of foods (mostly your favourites) that you must not indulge in anymore. It can be a task trying to remember what all you can have after he is done. Amongst the list, just as quickly as you gulp it down, soda or colas often manage to slide off this insanely long list of foods. The next day at the vending machine/canteen, you find yourself wondering, can I at least have some diet soda?
Diabetes is a disease wherein the blood sugar levels rise rapidly, and the body is unable to manage the high sugar levels. This is because either the body does not produce the hormone insulin, or the body fails to respond to the insulin produced by the body. In either case, blood sugar levels are elevated and can cause damage to the heart, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
It is essential for people with Diabetes to manage their sugar levels by taking their prescribed medications, exercising regularly, keeping weight in check, and monitoring their food intake.
Diet Sodas vs Regular Sodas
Diet Sodas, unlike regular sodas, are not loaded with sugar that causes a sudden spike in blood sugar levels (that’s the good part). However, they are charged with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame and have zero nutritional value (that’s the truth).
Both these sweeteners are approved by the U.S. FDA and are considered non-toxic. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also lists diet soda as a safe alternative to other non-diet drinks.
Is it really safe?
However, recent studies on the effect of diet soda on diabetes have been contradictory and confusing. Diet sodas have no nutritional value and contain harmful additives. They stimulate hunger leading to increased food intake and encourage binge eating that messes up blood sugar levels. Studies show that diet soda drinkers are at a 62% higher risk of developing diabetes than regular soda drinkers. This is because diet soda and the other factors that increase the risk of diabetes are almost always seen together. Though diet soda is considered safe for people with diabetes, it is important to note that any soda- diet or not; is an unhealthy choice of beverage. Alternatives such as milk, unsweetened tea – both green and black, 100% fruit juices, unsweetened and unflavored sparkling water, and fruit infused water provide a wide array of healthier choices.
It is recommended that diet soda as an occasional beverage choice may be okay for people with diabetes but should not be a part of their regular diet.