Discuss the chemical composition that goes into diet sodas and its effects on the human body.
Sugar-free versions of carbonated beverages with fewer calories or almost no calories are called to be diet drinks. Carbonated beverages which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as cyclamates, aspartame, caffeine etc are called as diet sodas. Be it be Pepsi, Sprite or coco-cola each of them has their respective versions of it such as Pepsi max, sprite zero and diet coke which are the diet-friendly versions of them.
In diet sodas, ingredients are the same as that of regular sodas, only with few differences in the ingredients used to sweeten the beverages and certain preservatives. Often low-calorie or zero-calorie sweeteners are used by manufacturers to keep the calorie content on the low end. They are commonly marketed to people having diabetes, who want to cut back on sugar and people who are putting an effort to reduce their calories to lose weight.
The chemical composition of them and their effects on human beings are discussed as follows.
Diet sodas are primarily composed of artificial sweeteners like acesulfame K , aspartame, and Sucralose. Sucralose is a sugar substitute and it is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Similarly, aspartame is an artificial sweetener which is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Acesulfame K is a calorie-free sweetener which is about 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar and is found in combination with aspartame and it acts to enhance and sustain the flavour foods. There have been controversies related to the side effects of these. For example, mild problems such as a headache, mood swings, and dizziness and also serious health issues such as Alzheimer disease, birth defects, diabetes, attention deficit disorders are a side effect of aspartame. Also for people with phenylketonuria (PKU) in which phenylalanine is prevented from being properly metabolized, aspartame is toxic. Since methylene chloride is present in acesulfame potassium, its long-term exposure may lead to some issues such as headaches, visual disturbances, nausea, effects on the liver, depression, and kidneys for the people consuming it. The side effects of sucralose include nuisance headaches and possible migraine headaches.
Another main component of diet sodas includes Phosphoric acids, which is a mineral acid composed of phosphorus. Phosphoric acid is the reason behind diet soda's acidity and sharp flavour. Almost all the acidity in soda is due to phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is corrosive and drinking sodas on a regular basis leads to an increased risk of dental erosion. However according to Frostburg State University, in typical sodas, the acid concentration is lower than that of orange juice or lemonade,
In diet sodas, caffeine is contained in quantities almost same as that present in regular soda. For example, diet Mountain Dew, Diet RC contain 55, 43 milligrammes of caffeine. These amounts are the same as, or very similar to, the regular versions. In moderate amounts of 100 to 200 milligrammes per day, caffeine is considered safe. According to the Mayo Clinic consumption of more than 500-600 mg of caffeine, a day may lead to nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. Also according to a previous research report, negative health effects of caffeine have been linked to even moderate amounts of it.
The major solvent in any diet drink is the carbonated water, which is simply plain water that's been infused with carbon dioxide. Sparkling water has a property of effervescence which makes for a healthier alternative to sugary soda. Carbonated water provides plenty of benefits with few consequences when it comes to our health. Hydration is important for a good health and also carbonating water hydrates just as well as still water. Decreased risk of constipation, body temperature regulation, proper kidney function and softer, more elastic skin, are some of the health effects of good hydration. For those with irritable bowel syndrome bloating and gas may be experienced because of the CO2.
Diet sodas also contain potassium benzoate, which is a preservative used to preserve the freshness of diet foods. It is added by manufacturers to prevent mould from growing while the soda is on store shelves. Diet soda often contains artificial dyes, which are responsible for the colour of the beverage. Soft drinks containing both potassium benzoate and vitamin C result in residual amounts of benzene. Benzene is considered as a carcinogen; it is thought to either cause cancer or encourage its growth.
Now In a study of 263,925 adults aged in between 51-70 who drank diet soda were more likely to be diagnosed with depression for the period of 10 years. The risk of a diabetes diagnosis was further increased by 6%. due to daily servings. Reports in a study conducted with 3,682 people from San Antonio, Texas showed that the risk of becoming overweight or obese gets doubled with the consumption of diet soda.
Now the bottom line of this is that diet sodas have both advantages and disadvantages. But looking for a solution to the disadvantages it can be said alternative methods of artificial sweetness can be adopted such as honey etc.