Diet soda could pose some health risks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Diet soda could pose some health risks

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Eyewitness News looks into the risks of drinking low-calorie beverages such as diet soda.

The station talked with registered dietician Sue Gebo and asked her if diet soda makes you heavier. She said the soda is not adding on the pounds.

"So the diet soda is accompanying their burger, or their hot fudge sundae or their bag of cookies," Gebo said. "So it's really the solid calories that people are consuming that show the connection with this diet soda. They are eating more when they're consuming their diet soda."

Eyewitness News looked into if the sweeteners in diet soda such as Aspartame and Splenda pose health risks.

Dr. David Katz, who is a national nutrition expert based at Yale University, said if there is an effect it is very, very small.

"Millions of people are exposed to these things for years, if there were a huge effect on public health, we would have seen it by now," Katz said.

"In terms of cancer risk, if you go to the American Cancer Society website, they have a whole section on Aspartame, just verifying there is no science to support any cancer risk or any health risk associated with Aspartame," Katz said.

Eyewitness News wanted to know the concerns with diet soda.

"They range in sweetness from 600 to 1,300 as sweet as sugar if you match them gram for gram," Katz said.

Katz added that makes you crave even more sweets.

"If you cultivate that preference for really sweet food, the calories that are missing from the soda," Katz said. "Just sneak in through the side door, so you just like your food sweeter in general."

Another issue people don't consider, Gebo said, is that diet soda can deplete the calcium in your body.

"High levels of phosphorus actually makes us absorb less calcium, it makes us excrete more calcium," Gebo said. "The problem with that is that if people are eating a low-calcium diet to start with, their risk of osteoporosis is significantly higher." 

Gebo added if you're healthy and not battling a weight problem, diet soda is a way to drink liquids without all the added sugar. Gebo said she agrees with Katz that the best thing to drink without worry is water. 

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