A UK pharmacist has shocked fizzy drink fans by releasing a step-by-step guide to the dramatic way a can of Diet Coke affects the body from 10 minutes after the first sip until an hour later.
Niraj Naik, who runs The Renegade Pharmacist blog, has created an eye-opening infographic that exposes how the sugar-free drink can wreak havoc on everything from your teeth to your waistline.
The blog post comes a week after his last infographic - about the physical impact of swigging a can of Coca-Cola - swept the internet.
Here is what happens to your body when your drink Diet Coke:
The Daily Mail also spoke to Ella Allred, technical nutritionist at NutriCentre for a detailed breakdown on how the soda affects your system.
In the first 10 minutes: It tricks your taste buds and attacks your teeth. The phosphoric acid attacks the enamel in your teeth, while the artificial sweeteners like aspartame hit your system. Aspartame may trigger taste receptors and tricks your body into thinking it has just had processed sugar.
Ms Allred said: "As soon as you taste the sweetness of Diet Coke, your body prepares for the sugar load and causes you pancreases releases insulin. The insulin surge decreases the pancreases sensitivity to insulin, putting you at risk of developing diabetes type 2. The insulin triggers your body to store fat around your middle, and increases your risk of developing heart disease."
>20 minutes: Can switch on fat storage mode. Like regular Coke this can trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode. Data from a number of studies, including Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study also reported greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Ms Allred said: "Blood insulin saturation is complete. But the problem is, there is no sugar in Diet Coke. But now you have a lot of insulin in your blood stream, pulling all of your blood available blood sugar into your cells leaving you with a massive sugar low. You then need sugar in your blood to maintain equilibrium. The sweet cravings kick in and may find you are reaching for another Diet Coke, which starts the cycle again."
>40 minutes: Can cause addiction. The combination of caffeine and aspartame creates a short addictive high similar in the way cocaine works. Excitotoxins are released which may exhaust your brains by overstimulating its neuroreceptors, especially if consumed on your regular basis.
Ms Allred said: "Caffeine saturation of your blood is complete, switching off tiredness receptors. It's creating pseudo alertness, and pushing our bodies beyond their designed capabilities. The aspartame has reached your brain, where it is a neuro toxin, which in some people may trigger migraines and other neurological problems. Aspartame and caffeine both trigger your brains reward centres, making this combination highly addictive."
>60 minutes and beyond: Can deplete nutrients, make you hungry and thirsty for more.
Unlike the small amount of satisfaction you get from regular Coke, your body may still crave sweets. This makes you likely to reach for another soda, or worse, some other junk food you consider to be safe and the cycle continues.
A can of Diet Coke provides no nourishment and would replace a more nutritious drink you could have drunk while potentially depleting your body of essential minerals.
It will never quench your thirst as it dehydrates rather than hydrates your body. A lack of vital water can lead to brain fog, poor concentration, fatigue and feeling irritable.
Ms Allred said: "The dehydrating effect of the Coke is already having an impact on your cells hydration levels. Dehydration has the effect of causing tiredness and drowsiness, which will likely leave you reaching for another caffeine hit. And so the vicious cycle starts again. Each time worsening its effect, causing you to gain weight and pushing your body beyond its design."
Mr Naik told the Daily Mail: "All diet beverages with similar ingredients to Diet Coke will have the same or similar effects."
According to Mr Naik, drinks which contain aspartame are more harmful to the body than ones which contain just sugar.
He said: "They are found in to be actually worse.
"A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that diet fizzy drinks increased the risk of diabetes more than regular fizzy drinks sweetened with sugar."
He explained: "Women who drank one 12oz diet fizzy drink had a 33 per cent increased risk of type 2 diabetes and women who drank one 20oz soda had a 66 per cent increase in risk.
"Women who drank diet fizzy drinks drank twice as much as those who drank regular fizzy drinks sweetened with sugar, because artificial sweeteners can be more addictive, and are up to a 1,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.
"The average diet fizzy drink consumer drinks three diet drinks a day.
"In this study they scientifically controlled for body weight and they found that the artificial sweeteners still increased diabetes independent of body weight.
"From my experience as a community pharmacist helping people to get off medications for metabolic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, I found if people drink diet sodas they still get the same problems as people who drink normal soda."
Marisa Peer a behavioural psychologist and a world renowned expert in eating disorders said: "Artificial sweeteners are associated with a drop in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin.
"Leptin is the hormone that inhibits hunger so diet drinks like Diet Coke actually make you hungry and less satisfied with normal amounts of food, and finally when you eat or drink a lot of chemicals that your body simply cannot break down, your body makes more and more internal fat to wrap the chemicals in keeping those harmful chemicals away from your vital organs.
"As Diet Coke has no calories and no recognised ingredients we know it is a cocktail of chemicals that encourage your body to gain and store weight especially on your legs and bottom away from your organs. Diet drinks are not good for your body your health or even as it turns out, for dieting."
A Coke NZ spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald: "These infographics are misleading, scaremongering and simply junk science. Our products are loved by millions around the world and are safe to consume."
Join the conversation on the Herald Life Facebook page
- Daily Mail