Diet Soda Has a New Harmful Side Effect, Study Suggests

You know sugary drinks aren't good for your health, and maybe you've been learning about the dangers of diet, too. Recent conversations in the science and nutrition community suggest diet soft drinks may actually cause weight gain and prime the brain toward addiction. Now, a brand-new Boston University study just published Friday found that diet soda may also be the worst drink you can crack open for another specific health reason—yes, even worse than full-sugar soda.

Dentistry researchers at Boston University (with the help of one from Australia's University of Sydney) set out to examine the effect of diet soda on dental erosion. Looking at approximately a year's worth of dietary and dental data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they categorized survey participants as high-level consumers of the following beverages: Soda, water, coffee/tea, and diet drinks.

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This is where it's interesting: Based on their data set, the researchers observed that dental erosion was most severe among the "diet drinks" consumers. Specifically, 85% of this group "showed the highest erosion."

Meanwhile, 83.9% of coffee/tea drinkers showed significant teeth erosion, while 78.9% of water drinkers did the same. The regular soda-drinking group showed the lowest levels of teeth erosion, at 76.2%.

Clearly, this is not a green light to drink all the sugar soda you want; in fact, the researchers state that further research is needed. They do note, however, that this study suggests diet drinks "might be linked to systemic diseases."

That statement highlights how a study like this isn't only about the appearance of your smile. Dental health can signify overall body health, as it's related to other aspects like cardiovascular, digestive, and more.

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