Dr. Vidhya Illuri, an endocrinologist at University Health's Texas Diabetes Institute, talks about how a lot of people assume diet soda is a health food. Drinking a lot of diet soda can lead to insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
“A lot of people assume that diet soda is a health food and it could actually help them in their health journeys, but it’s not,” Dr. Illuri said.
Diet Soda's Effect on the Body
Dr. Illuri says many of the artificial sweeteners activate sweet sensors in the mouth, taste buds and even the stomach.
“When this happens, it sends a chemical signal to our brains that something sweet is coming, that there’s something with caloric intake coming, but these sweeteners don’t have any calories.”
The body reacts by creating more insulin. “The question is, does this increase of insulin without any calories lead us to eat more later? Or just the fact that there is an increase in insulin that might lead to weight gain by increasing insulin resistance.”
Alternatives to Diet Soda
That means drinking a lot of diet soda could make some people diabetic. “That could lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Illuri said.
The same goes for any artificial sweetener, including drink powders. “Get some water and put frozen blueberries in it or lemons to give it that flavor,” Dr. Illuri said.
Diabetes Care at University Health
The Texas Diabetes Institute is the largest comprehensive diabetes care and treatment center in the nation. Learn more about diabetes care at University Health on our website.