Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

Diet sodas, which typically are artificially sweetened, come with a host of harmful side effects, according to researchers. A study conducted at the University of Minnesota concluded that consuming just one diet soda per day was associated with a 36 percent increase in risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome puts people at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A little-known fact about diet soda is that it's also harmful to the kidneys. A study at Harvard Medical School followed 3,000 female participants for 11 years. When women drank more than two sodas a day, kidney function began to decline. This decline was not linked to sugar-sweetened sodas, so researchers concluded that the kidney damage was attributed to diet soda consumption.

Diet soda also gets a bad reputation for misleading dieters. Contrary to what its name suggests, consumption of diet soda increases a person's chances of becoming overweight, according to a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The study found that drinking two or more cans of diet soda per day increased consumers' waistlines by over 500 percent. The reason is that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda interrupt the body's natural ability to discern adequate calorie intake, according to an animal study performed at Purdue University. This means that people who consume diet sodas are essentially tricking their bodies into thinking they're consuming real sugar, causing them to crave more and overeat.