How drinking Diet Coke could be linked to an increased risk of anxiety

There are a number of things that can make people feel anxious.

This could include the current cost of living crisis, phobias or conditions like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), the NHS says.

Experts have found that even a small amount of sweetener in Diet Coke can induce anxiety


Experts have found that even a small amount of sweetener in Diet Coke can induce anxietyPhoto credit: Getty

But experts in the US have now found that what we consume can also make us a little jittery.

Researchers studied mice – not humans – and found that after consuming artificial sweeteners, the rodents could display fear for generations.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology and Department of Neurology, St. Louis, examined the link between aspartame and anxiety.

Aspartame is a sweetener commonly used in low-calorie foods and beverages, including diet soda and other diet drinks.

Previous studies have found that the ingredient could increase your risk of deadly cancer and even sepsis.

The new study, published in PNAS, shows that even a small amount can cause harm.

Researchers gave mice free access to water dosed with aspartame.

The dose was 15 percent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended maximum daily dose for humans.

That’s 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day.

Experts said mice that consumed this exhibited more anxious behavior when tested.

Doctors said that this effect could then be observed in the rodents’ offspring for up to two generations after them.

Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide said: “What this study shows is that we need to look back at the environmental factors, because what we see today is not only what is happening today, but also what is happening two generations ago and maybe even longer has happened.”

Anxiety was measured by various tests across several generations of mice.

They also performed sequencing of their nervous system to determine how their nervous system tissue genes were expressed.

Experts found a significant change in the part of the brain linked to fear, the amygdala.

Previous studies have shown that aspartame consumption can affect the central nervous system.

When the mice in the study were given anxiety medication, their behavior stopped.

Diazepam also helps regulate the same pathway in the brain that is affected by aspartame.

Researchers said a lot more work is needed when trying to establish links between the sweetener and anxiety.

However, they urged caution when consuming the drink.

They added, “Extrapolation of the results to humans suggests that consumption of aspartame at doses below the FDA recommended maximum daily intake may result in neurobehavioral changes in aspartame consuming individuals and their offspring.”

“Therefore, the human population at risk from the potential mental health effects of aspartame may be larger than current expectations, which include only individuals who consume aspartame.”

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Gavin Partington, director-general of the British Soft Drinks Association, told The Sun: “This study was done on mice, not humans.

“According to all of the world’s leading health authorities, sugar-free sweeteners such as aspartame are safe and have therefore been used in a wide range of pharmaceuticals, foods, dental products and beverages for several decades.” How drinking Diet Coke could be linked to an increased risk of anxiety

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