I will freely admit my slight addiction to diet soft drinks. A little infusion of caffeine often helps me through the afternoon. My reasoning has always been that it beats the alternative…a “regular” soft drink that packs in 160 calories, almost 40 grams of sugar, and enough acid to clean the paint off a fencepost. We all know theyʼre bad for our belly and our teeth.
Recent research shows that I may be wrong. Probably not the first, nor the last time, if you asked my wife.
Problem number one is that some studies show that drinking multiple diet sodas on a daily basis can actually contribute to obesity and type II diabetes. The very people who are drinking diet to be healthier are experiencing the reverse effects. We think this has something to due with our bodies tasting the sweet, but not really getting the sugar. Go figure.
Second, diet drinks are almost always as acidic as their “regular” counterparts. It is a little known fact that sugar does not actually cause cavities. Sugar feeds the bacteria that live on teeth who in turn excrete waste in the form of acid. The acid is what dissolves teeth and causes what we know as cavities. Drinking any form of acidic beverage can lead to tooth decay because they increase the acid levels on teeth. A good way to combat this is to brush or rinse with water after drinking something acidic.
Finally, there have been studies linking diet soda consumption to kidney problems and decreased bone mass. If you read the label of most any canned beverage, youʼll see a list of ingredients that none of us should probably consume on a regular basis. If you donʼt know what it is, you probably shouldnʼt consume it in mass quantities.
Telling someone how to live or eat or drink never really works. Ultimately, weʼre all going to do what we want to do. As doctors, the service we can provide is to educate and give people the tools to make healthy decisions. Itʼd also be great to lead by example and do those things ourselves. Or at least, all things in moderation.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please comment through www.ParrishDental.com.