Diet Soda: The Hidden Dangers?

We’ve all seen that smug look on the face of someone who orders a diet soda while the rest of us are sitting there sipping ‘full-fat’ drinks. Yes, refined sugar isn’t good for you – we know that, but it’s a choice people make. However, those thinking that choosing a ‘diet’ or ‘light’ version of their favourite drinks is healthy may need to think again.

This Condescending Wonka photo springs to mind…

condescending wonka diet soda

All joking aside, this could be a far more serious matter than meets the eye. Most of us have heard the theory that the sweeteners in diet sodas can actually increase your appetite, but there is actually a lot more to it than that – according to Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin (authors of Skinny Bitch).

skinny bitch

Now the authors do have some radical ideas about diet (I’m not saying I agree with them all and certainly don’t follow them all) but in the book, they reveal some quiet shocking things about the sweetener aspartame, often found in diet sodas and sugar-free foods.

Firstly, they cite some research which claims that aspartame has been blamed for things like arthritis, birth defects, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, lupus, MS and diabetes. If that wasn’t scary enough, there’s more. There is a component of aspartame called methyl oxide; when it enters the body, it is converted to formaldehyde – the same toxic chemical that lab scientists use to preserve or disinfect.

So I know what you’re thinking…’surely they wouldn’t allow something like this to be used in food?”. The plot thickens…

I will paraphrase what Freedman and Barnouin explain in the book (please note that I am merely relaying what they say, not making any claims of my own). Before the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) actually approved aspartame for use in food, it was denied eight times. Research had been done by different scientists, who warned that it was dangerous, but the founder of the product pushed for its approval.

It was finally approved, although it faced numerous oppositions and investigations afterwards. Miraculously, each investigation fell through as the U.S attorneys working on the case either left or, eventually, approved the case. But get this – almost every one of them ended up working for or accepting gratuities from companies owned by the founder of aspartame.

Aspartame was finally approved for use without restriction in 1996, despite a report which found that it had some little side effects. Oh, y’know, nothing serious. Just things like blindness, nerve cell damage, mental confusion and – you guessed it – weight gain.

aspartame dangers

But you don’t have to take Skinny Bitch’s word for it – just google ‘dangers of aspartame’ and you’ll find over 800,000 results.

It is important to point out that there are many, many arguments about this – the stance of almost all of the official bodies in the world is now that aspartame is safe for consumption. But there’s nothing wrong with hearing the ‘other side’.

I’ll leave this information with you, but I can tell you one thing – I will never touch a diet soda again.

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

DISCLAIMER: The information – and all claims made – in this article have been taken from Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I have not intended to malign any group, club, organization, company, or individual.



  1. December 15, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    I remember reading about this about 8 years ago and also gave up on sweeteners. I also urged my brother to give them up and he did. Over the years I have also become conscious of what I eat and drink because the food we buy from supermarkets are filled with so much junk. You only have to look at the ingredients to be alarmed. When I buy juice, I only buy 100% pressed juice with nothing extra added. I refuse to drink concentrate juice as well.

    I also eat mostly home made meals and avoid processed food. I love chips and only buy oven chips which contains nothing but sunflower oil (ASDA and Iceland sell them – their own brands). It’s scary most people don’t think twice about what they are putting inside their body.

    • Rosie
      December 15, 2012 / 11:09 pm

      What’s your qualm with from concentrated juice? As it doesn’t affected the juice being 100% fruit juice.

  2. Alice
    December 15, 2012 / 7:56 pm

    I used to drink diet soda so often, it used to be the main thing that I drank! And then I began to realize that it was making hungry all the time and also that I was always craving more and more! So I began to have a goal to drink water whenever I wish to have diet soda. So recently I have managed to reach the goal of one litre of water every day! And I fell much better and healthier.
    I also avoid all processed foods and when I have orange juice I have to squeeze it myself. I don’t believe all the companies that claim they have fresh juice. 🙂

  3. Sofie
    December 15, 2012 / 11:00 pm

    Great article, you can tell you’re a journalist!

  4. Shannon
    December 16, 2012 / 6:39 pm

    I don’t really like the taste of those artificial sugars so i dont get them that often or eat other things that contain them

  5. jessica herrera
    December 16, 2012 / 8:17 pm

    I’ve drank diet soda for a while now because I honestly prefer the taste of it but I’ve stopped just because I’ve grown tired of diet sodas but knowing this now I’m completely staying away from them.

  6. December 17, 2012 / 5:03 am

    Aspartame can also lead to blindness in diabetics. And it is also found in energy drinks.

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