Does Diet Soda Cause High Blood Pressure?

Diet high in sugary sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes (type 2 diabetes), and heart disease. Though the effect of these beverages on blood pressure and blood cholesterol is still not fully understood, but experts believe that cutting back these beverages in your diet may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).

What are unhealthy properties /ingredients in soda beverages?

Soft drinks and soda beverages are so popular in this modern living. Though they are great in taste, can help satisfy your thirst, and may make you feel better but they are poor in nutrient value.

Moreover, you need to know that most of them can have a multitude of unhealthy substances. These reasons are the key of why many experts believe that diet high in soda beverages can be potential to cause long-term medical health problems.

image_illustration47The following are some unhealthy ingredients that can be found in many soda cans:

  1. Artificial flavors. Some of them use unhealthy artificial substances to expand the flavors which can be bad for your health in long term, particularly if you consume them too much in your daily diet.
  2. CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). It is the key of ingredient to make soda bubbly. But as well we know, our body doesn’t need CO2. Instead, we need O2 (oxygen) when breathing and eject CO2 out of the body through our lungs. While your body naturally ejects CO2 because it is marked as toxic by the body, why you consume it through a beverage called soda?
  3. Rich in sweeteners! In fact, most soda beverages are high in calories. They can provide excessive calories that can lead to weight gain and obesity. Furthermore, the sweeteners are not only high in calories but also can be harmful sweeteners for the body. Saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose are some harmful sweeteners that are pretty common used in soda beverages.
  4. Some contain caffeine or even high in caffeine. Caffeine is commonly not harmful as long as your body can tolerate it – in other words, as long as you consume it not too much. But too much caffeine can be bad for your cardiovascular system and may increase your risk of developing serious health problems.
  5. High acidity such as gluconic acid, fumaric acid, and acetic! The long–term effect of high acidity can damage the enamel on your teeth. It may also make the effects of gastroesophageal reflux disease get worse.
  6. Phosphoric acid. This acid can affect the ability of your body in using and absorbing calcium. And when your body is poor in using calcium, you are at high risk of osteoporosis. Phosphoric acid also can interfere with the mechanism of digestion in your body.
  7. BPA or Bisphenol-A! It is a chemical substance that is commonly needed and used to line soda cans. Medically, it is considered as hormone disruptor. It may cause negative effect for the kid’s development and even for the growth of fetus during pregnancy.

Can diet soda lead to high blood pressure (hypertension)?

It’s unclear whether diet soda can cause hypertension, but some studies showed that cutting back on sodas may help reduce systolic blood pressure (the force of your blood against your artery walls when your heart is working /contracting /beating).

Unfortunately, experts cannot explain completely how soda beverages affect blood pressure. But they believe that these beverages have contribution to make you have more risk factors of hypertension.

If soda beverages do have a bad effect on your blood pressure, the following reasons may be the answer:

  1. Some people think that drinking soda cans is like drinking water that will not give impact on their calories input. But as noted above, soda beverages are typically high in calories since they are loaded with lots of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Too much consumption of these beverages can cause obesity. And when you are not at your healthy weight’s scale, you are at high risk of hypertension. In fact, hypertension is more common in people with obesity.
  2. Since they also contain caffeine, this may also have an effect. Caffeine can cause a sudden kick-up in your blood pressure. Though the effect is usually temporary, but it can be dramatic! Caffeine is not the major risk factor of hypertension, but some experts believe that too much consumption of caffeine in long term may cause increased risk of hypertension – though this issue is still debatable!

In addition, some studies showed that people who get used drinking soda are more likely to practice other bad habits that put them at increased risk of hypertension.

These bad habits may include becoming a smoker (cigarette smoking) and drinking alcohol too much – both are some risk factors of high blood pressure.

Is there any scientific evidence that diet soda has an effect on blood pressure?

According to a study published in Circulation (the American Heart Association Journals):

Excessive consumption of soda beverages may make systolic and diastolic blood pressure rise higher than normal. On the other hand, cutting back these beverages may help decrease blood pressure.

This research involved about 810 participants (their age range from 25 to 27 years of old) with stage I of hypertension and pre-hypertension who were followed almost 18-months. Most of participants consumed an average of 10.5 fluid ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit punch, soft drinks, and other soda beverages.

The result of the study showed that reducing their soda intake provided 1.1 point reduction in their diastolic pressure (blood pressure when the heart at rest /between beats), and 1.8 points drop in their systolic pressure.

Citations /references:
(Vol-121) Circulation 2010- Chen, L