In a recent study, Temple University dentistry professor Mohamed Bassiouny compared the mouths of three individuals: A heavy diet soda drinker, a crystal meth user and a crack user. The teeth damage was “more or less the same between all three,” he concluded–which is what it is, but is not generalizable.
The diet soda drinker in this particular study consumed a two-liter a day and hadn’t seen a dentist since childhood. In conclusion: More reasonable diet soda consumption and dental care habits are unlikely to give you meth mouth.
Diet sodas can be bad for the teeth nonetheless–because they’re so acidic, all sodas promote staining by other foods. But stained teeth are really the least of diet soda’s evils. Here are four other ways diet soda is linked to poorer health, despite its lack of sugar or calories.
Diet soda & type 2 diabetes: In a 2012 study, researchers tracking more than 66,000 women over 14 years found those who drank diet soda regularly were the most likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The diet soda drinkers were more likely to get diabetes than those who drank either sugar-sweetened (regular) sodas or 100% juice.
Diet soda & stroke: Numerous studies have linked diet soda with increased stroke risk. In one study, researchers tracked about 2,500 U.S. adults over a 10-year period, and found those who drank diet sodas daily had about a 48% higher risk of stroke or heart attack than those who drank no soft drinks at all.
Diet soda & intoxication: While we laughed at the news that diet soda with your booze may get you drunk faster than other mixers, it’s actually pretty unsettling news. In a study published in 2012, researchers found using diet soda in a diet cocktail increased breath alcohol content by 18%–almost as much as another drink.
Diet soda & weight gain: People tend to drink diet soda to avoid the weight-causing calories in regular soft drinks. But time and again, regular diet soda drinking has been linked to weight gain, instead. Some researchers think it’s because diet sodas dull sensitivity to sweet tastes, which can in turn cause people to seek out other sugary things. It could also have to do with the way our bodies process artificial sweeteners versus actual sugar.