According to a 2008 study published in The Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, people who drank aspartame-sweetened Diet Coke were more likely to experience moderate to severe fatty infiltration
in their livers than those who drank non-diet sodas, including Sprite and Fanta. Why is this an issue? This infiltration can lead to a condition called, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
where fat builds up in the liver and causes cirrhosis, otherwise known as late-stage liver scarring. Cirrhosis can eventually lead to liver failure if not addressed early on.
There are other known health issues associated with the artificial sweetener typically found in diet soda. A 2017 Nutrition Reviews special article that reviewed nearly two decades worth of data
on aspartame concluded that consuming aspartame in quantities even within recommended safe levels may "disrupt the oxidant/antioxidant balance, induce oxidative stress,
and damage cell membrane integrity, potentially affecting a variety of cells and tissues and causing the deregulation of cellular function, ultimately leading to systemic inflammation."
Another reason not to reach for diet soda daily? One study suggests drinking just one of the artificially sweetened beverages daily was linked to an 8% higher risk of type 2 diabetes; however,
the meta-analysis looked at observational studies, which can only show correlation, not causation. And another study indicated that consumption of artificially sweetened drinks was associated with a
21% percent higher risk of developing the condition in older women (again, the study showed a correlation, not causation).
At the end of the day, there is research that supports both sides of the argument on whether or diet soda is harmless or harmful for your body. Our advice? Cut down on your intake to play it safe.
If you can't shake the craving, consider limiting yourself to three servings of diet soda a week and then try, eventually try to drop it down to just one serving a week.