Background: The purpose of this review paper was to explore the components and their respective health effects and safety aspects regarding the consumption of diet drinks (DDs).
Methods: A wide variety of the relevant publications (published before 2018) were identified through searching electronic databases (ScienceDirect, PubMed, SciELO, Google Scholar, Springer Link, and ResearchGate) on the basis of different keywords such as diet drink, market status, consumption pattern, composition, health effects, and regulations related to DDs. After the search of suitable literature, 139 papers were screened and reviewed.
Results: Numerous brands of DDs have been introduced in the market along with a wide variety of modifications in order to attract the consumers of all age groups along with their respective professions. The major components of DDs are caffeine, taurine, ginseng, guarana, sodium, potassium, and sweeteners that contribute to the good taste, stimulating effect, increased performance and cognitive function, and reduced stress. However, ingestion of DDs over a prolonged course of time can pose multiple deleterious effects, i.e., intoxication, affective disorder, hypertension, reproductive toxicity, and neurological disorders. Consequently, different regulatory bodies of respective countries have formulated and enforced rules and regulations regarding the composition, consumption, labeling, distribution, and sales of DDs.
Conclusions: An awareness regarding the components, consumption, and health effects is greatly required in the present era, and authors have tried to fill this gap.
• Key teaching points
• Rise in socio-economic status, health awareness and change in dietary lifestyle are the major factors that fuel the demand of diet drinks; which has been witnessed by a drastic increase in the consumption pattern of the diet drinks among young to middle-age adults since last decade.
• A wide variety of the ingredients are used in the preparation of diet drinks including caffeine, ginseng (Panax ginseng), guarana (Paullinia cupana), taurine, artificial sweeteners, B Vitamins, sodium, potassium etc.
• Diet drinks are generally served cold and contain high levels of caffeine and other artificial sweeteners; which based on dosage, have been known to be beneficial as well as harmful.
• These ingredients possess numerous health benefits including anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer properties, improved metabolic functions, stress reduction and enhanced endurance, exercise and performance and increased cognitive function.
• A wide range of the adverse health effects such as nervousness, sleeplessness, behavioral changes, decreased appetite, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, dehydration etc. is being possessed by diet drinks upon the ingestion of these drinks over a prolonged course of time.
• Regulatory bodies should determine the safe limits of all ingredients for different age groups to get maximum health benefits.