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Looking at the side of any diet soda, you can see 0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar, and tons more zeros.

Does this mean that diet sodas are actually somewhat HEALTHY? Or at least not at all bad for you?

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    That's an advertising trick: Yes, 0 calories, 0 fat, 0 sugar. But artificial colors, aromas and sweeteners. I don't have time right now, but I'm sure any answer forthcoming will talk about these ingredients. Especially the sweetener. – Lagerbaer Apr 25 '11 at 3:37
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    Diet sodas typically have a non-zero amount of sodium; a bottle of Diet Coke, for example, has 70mg of sodium. If you were to substitute Diet Coke for your 8 glasses of water per day, that would account for a large percentage of your recommended daily sodium intake. – ESultanik Apr 25 '11 at 17:39
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    I never understand why people think calories are bad. I know my body has evolved to cope with calories in sugar, but it definitely doesn't know what to do with sweeteners other than give me headaches. – Rory Alsop Jun 4 '12 at 22:03
  • @ESultanik - that depends on your definition of "large percentage". 320mg of sodium from Diet Coke is only about 14% of the max 2300mg recommendation. In comparison a hot dog has 567mg and a single slice of american cheese has 468mg. So I think for most people, the sodium in a diet soda is the least of their health concerns. – Johnny Mar 30 '15 at 5:08
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In diet soda you typically have carbonated water, caramel colour, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, flavouring, citric acid, and caffeine. These are generally non-nutritive, but as with most food products, their health effects are variously under dispute or active research. According to reason, pure water is quite simply lower risk than diet soda, but there's been significant research into the health effects of the latter, with negative effects occurring largely via the psychological and biological trickery of artificial sweeteners.

Further reading:

  • A brief summary of studies of health effects of aspartame.

    Long-term clinical studies with high doses of aspartame (75 mg/kg/day for 24 weeks, or about 25 times current consumption levels at the 90th percentile) resulted in no changes in clinical or biochemical parameters or adverse experiences compared with a placebo.

  • One of many sources of information on the health effects of caffeine.

  • MSDS for benzoates. Also, see benzene in soft drinks.

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    I understand you are using the wikipedia links mainly to provide definitions, but if you want to make a convincing argument for your view, you should edit to include some primary source documents. – Monkey Tuesday Apr 25 '11 at 4:57
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Diet soda is, among other things, positively associated with type 2 diabetes. Artificially-sweetened carbonated drinks seem to make one hungrier, which does not bode well for weight control. Since people tend to be resistant to making sizable dietary changes for long periods of time as part of a study, it's hard to really nail these things down definitively, but the evidence does not indicate at this point that diet sodas are "not at all bad for you". (An exception is if you're traveling or living in a country with an unsafe water supply.)

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    But is that correlation or causation ? It would be reasonable to expect overweight people to choose diet soda in an attempt to reduce weight, and the link between overweight and diabetes is well-documented. – Agrajag Dec 18 '13 at 9:40
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According to a new study at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, artificial sweeteners cause a change in our intestinal flora (the bacteria in our gut, which play a major role in our digestion, immune system, etc). This in turn causes glucose intolerance, which leads you to eat more, and can lead to metabolic disorders. As a result you put on more weight and become prone to diseases like diabetes.

The evidence at this point is not fully conclusive, but according to one expert, it is certainly compelling.

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