Add "high blood pressure" and "risk of addiction" to your list of reasons to kick the soda habit.
Blood Pressure On The Rise
Last week, a study linked diet soda to strokes and heart attacks. Now, there may be more evidence that soda drinkers of all kinds face health risks.
Regular pop drinkers (or people sipping any other sugary beverage) are at risk for higher blood pressure. The more you drink, the higher your blood pressure likely is, even after being adjusted for other risk factors like weight and genetics.
The study from the School of Public Health at Imperial College in London found that drinks sweetened with both sugar and corn syrup had the same increasing effects, though representatives from the beverage industry say it's unfair to lump together the effects of different sweeteners in the same study.
But What About Diet?
Though diet soda may be sugar-free, a new article in Health magazine compiles more evidence that it's not a great substitute for the real thing.
When we taste diet soda, we taste sugar, so that's what our bodies expect - a sweet, satisfying sugar rush. Except it never happens, as those artificial sweeteners like aspartame aren't capable of giving it to us. Our instinct then kicks in to drink more until we hit the sugar peak that's never coming, and in the process, we increase our risk of heart disease and stroke.
This can create a potentially addictive cycle. For some, compulsive soda drinking is an example of addiction swapping, like trading a regular cigarette for a glass of Diet Coke.
"You think, 'Oh, I can drink another one because I'm not getting more calories,'" says Harold C. Urschel, MD, an addiction psychiatrist. "Psychologically you're giving yourself permission."
- Drinking Soda May Increase Your Blood Pressure (NPR)
- Can you get hooked on diet soda? (CNN/Health Magazine)