You may think choosing a diet soft drink over a can of sugary fizz is a healthy choice. After all, they contain virtually no kilojoules right? Think again. There is a growing body of evidence that points to negative health outcomes associated with regularly consuming diet drinks, including damage to teeth, weight gain, kidney disease and weakened bones.
No wonder sales of diet drinks are falling faster than regular soft drinks — a trend reported by The Wall Street Journal in December. “The biggest drag is health fears about artificial sweeteners found in diet soda – mainly aspartame, but also sucralose and acesulfame potassium,” it said.
Melanie McGrice, Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, believes it is time to swap the chemical cocktail for healthier options, from unsweetened tea and coffee to just plain water.
She outlines some of the health risks. Diet soft drinks “are quite high in acid and so they can be very bad for your teeth and bones. Caffeinated drinks will impair the absorption of calcium and so that could certainly have an impact on bone density,” she says.