Diet soda sales drop amid skepticism about safety

By Laura Mize • Published: March 10th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Low on calories but big on sweetness and fizz … diet soda is like a tasty mystery.

Health gurus and researchers alike question its safety, wondering whether the promise of such a satisfying treat that won’t hurt your waistline is too good to be true. Cancer, osteoporosis, wrinkled skin, slowing metabolism, excess weight … the list goes on. People have, rightly or wrongly, blamed a whole litany of skin and beauty woes on diet soda intake. Some of the concerns have been investigated through scientific research, with varying results, while others remain unexamined.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda as safe for human consumption, but skepticism remains.

Shoppers are taking notice. Wells Fargo Securities reports that data on soda sales collected by the Nielsen Company show a significant drop from November 2012 through November 2013. Consumers spent nearly 7 percent less on diet soda in that time period, and 2 percent less on regular soda.

Where do you stand on diet soda? Perhaps you’re unsure. A 2013 overview study, which analyzed the results of numerous other studies, did not cast the beverages in a favorable light. The researchers from Purdue University said that, when reviewed together, the studies indicated a link between diet soda and risks of numerous health maladies. Such ailments included diabetes, cardiovascular disease, excess weight — including obesity — and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of unhealthful levels of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

The diet soda debate is sure to continue for a while. Whatever position you take, be sure you’ve done your research and made an informed choice for the sake of your family’s health and your own.