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The “Diet” in Diet Soda

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Diet sodas are known to help people lose weight or maintain their current weight, but diet sodas may cause a problem worse than that of weight gain. A recent study published on September 17th conducted by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel revealed that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes. The experiment fed common zero-calorie sweeteners to mice and found that the mice developed an intolerance to glucose very early on.

“I think [people] would be better off drinking regular soda,” says sophomore Gabriella Gutierrez. She also makes another point, saying non-diet soda is also more health-considerate because “some of those sweeteners can cause cancer more than regular soda can.”

Previous studies, one by Susan E. Swithers at the Department of Psychological Sciences and Ingestive Behavior in Indiana, linked artificial sweeteners to obesity. Many similar tests have been conducted in the past, but have largely been pushed to the side.

“I’ve always been against it,” says Deborah Kauffmann, a Baltimore County Nutritionist/Dietitian. “They’ve always been associated with neurological issues,” she says. Kauffmann also adds that Splenda has been associated with intestinal problems, and there is “no evidence that diet soda helps with weight management.”

The glucose intolerance is introduced as the sweeteners alter the gut microbiota, or the bacteria in your intestines, according to the study from Nature. The study states that “consumption of commonly used [zero-calorie] formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations” to these bacteria.

“I don’t think [the sweeteners] should be allowed because it’s not fair for us to be consuming those harmful things,” says Gutierrez.

“The companies tell you what’s in the sodas,” says sophomore Natia Howell. “It’s the consumer’s choice to buy the product.”

More studies on this subject are sure to come, as the negative effects of these additives have been in question since their introduction in 1952.

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The “Diet” in Diet Soda