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October 8, 2016

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

When you’re feeling thirsty but you’re watching your calorie
intake, you reach for a diet soda. And when you need a bit of
an energy boost, Diet Coke, known as "Coca Cola Light" in
Europe and other markets outside the United States, is the
drink you choose. After all, Diet Coke doesn’t have any sugar,
right, and the caffeine keeps you going? But did you know that
this diet drink is not entirely trouble-free.

If you have a Coca Cola Light habit, what could it be doing to
your health? Is it safe to drink Coca Cola Light every day? Is
Coca Cola Light linked with any health dangers?

Coca Cola Light --- The Good News?

The good news for people watching their waistlines is that
Coca Cola Light or Diet Coke contains less than one calorie per
330ml can, according to the Coca Cola website. Plus, it doesn’t
contain any sugar.

Sugary drinks are responsible for a large amount of the calories
the average American consumes every day.

A 2005 study from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition
Research Center on Aging at Tufts University recently showed
that the leading source of calories in the average US consumer’
s diet used to be from white bread, but it is now drinks.

Researchers looked at the diets of a nationwide sample of
Americans in the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey (NHANES). More than two thirds of the
respondents reported consuming enough soda and sweet
beverages to make up a greater proportion of calories per day
than from any other food.

The problem with sugary drinks contributes to a wider problem
with obesity, and many countries have levied a “soda tax”,
including the latest country, the UK, which plans to tax drinks
that contain a lot of sugar.

With Coca Cola Light, the taste comes from low-calorie
sweeteners, so you can drink to your heart’s content without
worrying about piling on the pounds. Or can you?

Studies Show Diet Coke Actually Makes You Fatter?

Strangely enough, not everyone agrees that drinking diet soda
like Coca Cola Light is better for your waistline. A 2015 study
from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San
Antonio actually claims that diet soda like Diet Coke can actually
make you fatter.

Research shows that over the last 30 years consumption of
both artificial sweeteners and diet drinks have risen, and in this
time there has been a corresponding rise in obesity.

Researchers looked at people over the age of 65 as part of the
San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) and found
that the average waist measurement of those people who
regularly drank diet soda was almost three times that of the
people who did not drink diet drinks – for daily drinkers of
things like Coca Cola Light, waist measurement was 3.16 inches

Prof. Susan Swithers wrote in the journal "Trends in
Endocrinology & Metabolism" in 2013 that sugar-free drinks
that contain no-calorie sweeteners cause negative effects on
the metabolism.

Diet Coke/Coca Cola Light and other diet sodas increase the
risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2
diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

And a 2008 study from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
shows that people who drink diet sodas have consistently
higher BMI.

But the idea that no-calorie sweeteners may not be healthy is
something that most people do not want to hear.

Diet Coke, Coca Cola Light, Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer

The sweeteners in Coca Cola Light may have no calories, but
that does not mean they are problem-free. Sweeteners in Coke
include aspartame, sucralose, and sorbitol. Aspartame is one of
the most common sweeteners used in drinks and is made by
combining amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Rumor
has it that aspartame is linked with cancer.

However, scientific studies do not particularly back up this
theory. Many studies have been undertaken in lab animals to
check for aspartame impact on health, and no consistent health
effects have been found.

A 2007 study from the European Ramazzini Foundation of
Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna, Italy suggests
that exposure to low doses of aspartame from an early stage in
life causes cancer in rats, but the FDA has called the results into
question citing a lack of data.

A 2015 study from Stony Brook University, New York
conducted an analysis of previous research into aspartame and
cancer and concluded that aspartame consumption has no
negative carcinogenic effect in rodents.

Coca Cola Light Makes You Drunker?

Another effect of artificial sweeteners in drinks could be their
impact on alcohol being drunk – a 2013 study from Northern
Kentucky University in Highland Heights shows that people who
mix their alcoholic drink with diet soda, aiming to cut their
calorie consumption, actually get drunker more quickly.

The study showed that people who drank an alcoholic drink
with a diet mixer had higher breath alcohol content than those
who mixed with non-diet drinks.

Regardless of what they drank, participants in the study
reported feeling the same level of drunkenness – and “they
didn't feel any different as to how willing they were to drive a

The researchers suggest that a sugary mixer could slow down
the process of alcohol entering the bloodstream, thus slowing
down the experience of drunkenness.  A diet Coca Cola Light,
however, could cause the body to release the alcohol

Coca Cola Light Is Linked to Depression?

If you drink a lot of Coca Cola Light you may also be more at
risk of depression, according to research.

A 2013 study from the National Institutes of Health in Research
Triangle Park in North Carolina links the consumption of diet
soda drinks with a higher risk of depression, while drinking
coffee is associated with a slightly lower risk.

In the study researchers looked at beverage consumption
among 263,925 people aged between 50 and 71 in a long-term

After 10 years, researchers questioned people about their
experience of depression. The study found that people who
drank more than four cups or cans of soda a day, whether diet
or sugar-sweetened, were 30 percent more likely to have
received a depression diagnosis in those 10 years.

And here's the shocker. Drinking diet beverages was associated
with a greater risk of depression than the sugary versions.

However, other researchers point out that this does not
automatically mean diet soda causes depression – it could be
that people who are predisposed to depression are more likely
to favor diet drinks, for example.

Coca Cola Light and Kidney Function Decline

Two reports presented in 2009 from Brigham and Women's
Hospital claim that people who regularly drink Coca Cola Light
and other artificially sweetened drinks are more likely to
experience a decline in kidney function.

Researchers looked at more than 3,000 women taking part in
the Nurses' Health Study to check the impact of sweetened
drinks on kidney function. This study reported "a significant
two-fold increased odds, between two or more servings per
day of artificially sweetened soda and faster kidney function
decline; no relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and
kidney function decline was noted."

However, Others Say Diet Soda Is Good for Your Kidneys…

But a 2009 study from the University of California, San
Francisco suggests that the citrate and malate content in diet
sodas like Coca Cola Light could help stop the development of
calcium stones. Authors of the study say that “patients with
stone disease who do not drink soda may benefit from
moderate consumption."

What About the Caffeine in Coca Cola Light?

While the link between Coca Cola Light and kidney health is
debated, so too is the effect of the caffeine in this popular drink.

On the one hand, caffeine in Coca Cola Light is believed to
reduce the risk of liver, mouth, and throat cancer, protect
Type 2 diabetes, lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease,
and protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke.
On the other hand, caffeine is linked with insomnia, anxiety,
nervousness, muscle tremors, and a fast heartbeat. A 2013
study from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University
of South Carolina said that the caffeine in four cups of coffee a
day is linked to an increased risk of early death.

And the Coloring?

“Caramel color is made by a process involving the heating of
corn or cane sugar and other carbohydrates to achieve the
desired color.” ,says Coca-Cola Co.

It sounds natural, but experts believe there is an increased risk
of lung cancer after exposure to 4-methylimidazole—a
contaminant in the caramel coloring. The International Agency
for Research on Cancer reported in 2011 that caramel coloring
is possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The bottom line is, Coca Cola Light contains many ingredients
and not all of them are completely natural. Many are linked with
health problems. One can of Coca Cola Light once in a while
won’t make much of a difference, but if your habit extends to
several cans every day, it’s probably best to switch to water.

Diet Sodas Linked to Stroke /  Sugar The Disease Connection/
Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics/ Foods That Lower Your Blood
Sugar/ More from this Author

Break Through Your Diet Plateau

How Many Calories Do I Burn

Quinoa-The New Superfood?
Break Through Your Diet Plateau

How Many Calories Do I Burn























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