Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 15, 2009
In my ongoing attempt to live a cleaner life, I’ve managed to drop several unhealthy habits from my behavior (and no, I’m not listing them for you). But the one thing I can’t seem to shake is the diet soda. There’s something about that ice cold metallic taste that has me hooked.
But now there’s hope, as scare tactics are usually effective. New findings from researchers (via an article in the New York Times) says that diet soda is thought to cause metabolic syndrome. Sounds scary, but what does that mean exactly? It means your body might have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And under those umbrella maladies come such nastiness as high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity. Yuck.
A nine-year study of almost 10,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 64 revealed that those eating the standard “Western diet” of red meat, fried foods and refried grains were at an 18 percent higher risk for metabolic syndrome than those whose meals consisted of fish, fruits and vegetables. This news isn’t shocking. I’ll bet I would have correctly guessed that, had it been put to me as a true/false question.
But what is shocking is the revelation that those who drank one can of diet soda per day increased their risk of metabolic syndrome by a whopping 34 percent.
One can per day, that’s all. (Luckily for us Westerners, we don’t fry the diet soda — otherwise our risk increase might be 52 percent.)
While the article didn’t include a narrowed down “why” on the findings — whether it’s the fake sugar or the caramel coloring, for example — for a lot of diet soda drinkers, the knowledge that there’s any risk at all might be sufficient enough to warrant change in their addiction. After all, it didn’t take specific data to jump-start the anti-smoking movement. “Cigarettes cause lung cancer” was enough information to scare millions into quitting.
Of course, for some, the news of diet soda’s link to metabolic syndrome might have not have any effect at all. It’s something I’ll ponder over a healthy glass of water…