Diet Soda: A Guilt Free Beverage with Harmful Effects on the Body
Think of the countless times at a restaurant you have been put on the spot to choose a beverage once seated by the waiter. Considering what you may have heard about sugar- free soda, would the possibly harmful affects it may have on your body outweigh the number of calories you may be saving by allowing you to consume a high calorie meal? To some, artificially sweetened carbonated beverages, such as diet soda, have the same delicious taste as regular soda, but only with the satisfaction of knowing the beverage spares calories to compensate in a high calorie meal. Some people enjoy nothing more than a nice cold glass of sugar-free and calorie free diet soda to wash down some greasy, cheesy, high-calorie pizza when eating out. The guilt free, no sugar, and no calorie soft drink complements a high calorie meal and a possibly guilty conscious, therefore many people assume that it is good for their health. However, consumption of large quantities of diet soda on a regular basis should be limited because it contributes to cancer, memory loss, weight gain, and diabetes.
Consuming large quantities of diet soda may increase the risk of cancer. In a study conducted by Soffritti, Belpoggi, Tibaldi, Esposti, & Lauriola, (2007), seven groups of Sprague-Dawley rats of both sexes were treated with various dose levels of aspartame (APM) from eight weeks old until their death from natural cause. As a result, when the rats were administered APM levels relatively close to human’s acceptable daily intake (ADI), the carcinogenic effects confirm that aspartame contributes to cancer (Soffritti et al., 2007). In fact, Soffritti et al. (2007) indicate cancer is an increased risk in people when exposed to APM as a fetus. Unfortunately, there is not enough public awareness on the issue of consuming aspartame contained in diet soda while pregnant and the effects it has on the fetus. Therefore, aspartame (APM) in diet soda can lead to cancer and the risk of developing carcinogenic effects increase in those who have a life span exposure to APM.
In addition to aspartame in diet soda contributing to cancer, it also causes memory loss. Carbonated beverages began containing aspartame in 1983, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it (Gold, 1995). Aspartame contains 40% aspartic acid, which is an amino acid that increases the level of aspartate and glutamate in blood plasma, according to Gold (1995). This increase of aspartate, as explained by Gold (1995), causes over stimulation of the nerves by acting within the brain as neurotransmitters, which aid in sending and receiving information between neurons. Aspartate increases the possibility of destroying the cell surface’s membrane on the opposite side of the area between nerve cells (where transmission of nerve impulses occur) in the brain (Humphries, Prestorius, & Naude, 2008). As a result, excessive aspartate or glutamate can slowly...