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Triglycerides and Diet Soda: The Framingham Study
According to a study by the Framingham Heart Study, those who drink one or more cups of soda daily have a 25 percent increased risk of developing a high level of triglycerides than those who drink less than a cup of soda a day. The most surprising fact in this study is that drinking diet soda rather than regular soda did not change the results. In other words, people who drink diet soda are also at risk of developing a high level of triglycerides.
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Why Diet Soda Can Elevate Triglycerides
Before this study, it was commonly understood that non-diet soda can lead to elevated triglycerides, due to the corn syrup contained in the soda. But diet soda does not contain corn syrup, so this theory no longer holds any water. Therefore, researchers have turned to other theories about the connection between triglycerides and diet soda.
One theory maintains that drinking diet soda during meals does not fill you up long term, which means that you will be hungry sooner. However, this theory equates diet soda with all other liquids, in which case drinking fruit juices or water would have the same effect. It also doesn’t consider the fact that the study took into account the amount of food that people ate throughout the day and adjusted their results accordingly.
A second theory suggests that the sweetness of diet soda causes a person to crave more sugary foods in general. A third theory holds up the caramel flavoring in soda as the culprit, claiming that it may “promote advanced glycation end products,” which can lead to various issues including elevated triglycerides.
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The Bottom Line
If you’re trying to keep your triglyceride level low, it may be a good idea to avoid drinking more than a cup of soda a day – or to avoid drinking soda entirely. This includes both diet and non-diet soda, both of which have been linked to elevated triglycerides. However, even the authors of this study point out that they only proven that triglycerides and diet soda are connected in some way, not that drinking diet soda actually causes elevated levels of triglycerides.
There are other possible health issues related to diet soda, so limiting your intake is always beneficial.