Diet soda linked to diabetes

You already know how I feel about soda. Because, despite what my mother told me about keeping my lips zipped when I have nothing nice to say, I've made it crystal clear over the years, especially with the growing connection between soda and diabetes

In fact, there's nothing good...and I really do mean nothing...that I can say about the stuff.

Those soda cans are packed with so much sugar they could practically kill a horse. Or, at the very least, give him cancer. As I explained a couple of years ago, one study found that just two cans a day may spike your pancreatic cancer risk by 87 percent.

And, of course, there's the link between sodas and knee osteoarthritis I told you about just a few months back.

I've warned you about the connection between the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in sodas and dropping IQ's. And let's not forget the University of Colorado study that linked a 77 percent surge in hypertension risk to HFCS as well.

Oh, and don't even get me started about what all that syrupy sweetness is doing to your blood sugar.

But what if I told you that it could be regular soda's evil twin diet soda that we really should be keeping an eye on when it comes to soda and diabetes risk?

Well, as shocking as it sounds, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that this might very well be the case.

Diabetes risk skyrocketed by 60 percent!

Acting on an educated hypothesis....or what the rest of us would just call a good hunch...French researchers from the University of Paris decided to find out if there was a connection between diet soda and diabetes.

And Boy Howdy was there ever!

After performing an analysis on 66,188 women they found that not only is there a connection between drinking soda and diabetes, the diabetes risk is higher for diet soda drinkers than regular soda drinkers.

That's right...the diet soda drinkers were more likely to get diabetes. In fact, at just one cup of diet soda a day the risk of diabetes skyrocketed by 60 percent!

Now I know you're probably wondering how that's even possible. Scientists are still working on the complete answer to that question. But there are two things we can already safely say are playing a role.

Diet soda drinkers may be trying to fool their palates into thinking they're consuming something sweet, but their bodies sure know the difference. Scientists believe that people who drink diet sodas may end up craving sugar even more as a result. And being only human, a lot of us end up satisfying that craving by eating...yes, you guessed it...MORE sugar.

(Diet soda and a donut sound at all familiar?)

But the other reason why diet soda drinkers may be at a higher risk for diabetes is decidedly more sinister. While the researchers apparently believed it only warranted a passing comment, entire books have been written on the stuff.

I'm talking about aspartame, the artificial sweetener that gives these drinks their super-sweet taste. Now I've warned you about aspartame before. It's a known carcinogen. And, it's been proposed that the sweetener may cause an increase in appetite and cravings for (here we go again) sugar.

Aspartame and blood-sugar surges

But, in this case, it's what the sweetener does to your blood-sugar levels that may be the bigger issue. Just a moment ago I told you that your body doesn't know the difference between the fake sweet of these diet soft drinks and the real deal. However, that may not be entirely true.

It turns out that your brain may be a bit of a sucker when it comes to fake sweet stuff. When you eat or drink foods with aspartame, despite there not being any real food value your perception is that you're eating something sweet. Some studies have found that this suggestion alone may be enough to cause fluctuations in your blood sugar.

A study published in The British Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 documented a variety of blood sugars in reaction to aspartame. And a more recent study on diabetics, published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2007, confirmed that there were fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of volunteers after eating an aspartame-spiked breakfast.

The bottom line is what I've been telling you all along. Soft drinks...both the regular and diet varieties... are nothing but bad news. Skip the soda and pick something healthier like green tea or filtered water. And if you're still craving something bubbly, pick a soft drink made with natural stevia instead.