By Josh Redd, DC on June 30, 2018
If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid you’re supposed to drink diet soda because it’s better for watching your weight, right? Wrong — people who drink diet soda every day are three times more likely to develop dementia or have a stroke than non-soda-drinkers. Unmanaged Hashimoto’s low thyroid is hard enough on the brain. Don’t worsen it by drinking diet soda. A study in 2017 tracked almost 3,000 people ages 45 and over for 10 years. Researchers found those who drank diet soda every day were almost three times more likely to have an ischemic stroke (from blood vessel blockage) or develop dementia from Alzheimer’s disease. Diet sodas are full of toxic chemicals, including saccharin, acesulfame-K, aspartame, and artificial colorings. Surprisingly, the study did not find the same stroke and dementia risk with sugary sodas. However, mounds of evidence show regular consumption of sugar sodas (high-fructose corn syrup) significantly raise the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, COPD, and other inflammation-related disorders. If you want to improve your Hashimoto’s low thyroid you shouldn’t switch from diet soda to sugar soda —you should drink neither as both pose threats to your immune and low thyroid health. Additionally, you can forget about diet sodas as a weight loss tool. Studies show diet sodas raise blood sugar and raise the risk of obesity and diabetes. Why? Diet sodas impact gut bacteria in a way that promotes obesity and diabetes. In mouse studies, mice given artificial sweeteners developed high blood sugar compared to control mice and even compared to mice given high-fat food and sugar water. A follow-up human study produced the same results — those who consumed artificial sweeteners daily developed higher blood sugar and obesity-promoting gut bacteria in just one week. You need healthy gut bacteria for better immune function and success in managing your autoimmune Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Autoimmune Hashimoto’s is a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism. Although you may need thyroid medication, Hashimoto's is more an immune disorder than a thyroid disorder. Artificial sweeteners are also toxic to the brain. The majority of complaints to the FDA about aspartame have been about neurological symptoms. Symptoms reported include headaches, mood alterations, hallucinations, seizures, nausea, insomnia, anxiety attacks, vertigo, fatigue, rashes, irritability, heart palpitations, slurred speech, loss of hearing, loss of taste, and gut problems. Aspartame is an excitotoxin, meaning it causes brain cells to degenerate and die. This is unfortunate if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid because the brain cells are already deprived of much needed thyroid hormone. So if you can’t drink diet soda or sugary soda what can you drink? Thankfully, sparkling water has become increasingly available. If you still want a cold fizzy drink, opt for sparkling water at the grocery store and at restaurants.