Do you drink diet soda? Maybe you know someone who is hooked on the stuff. As a former Diet Coke fiend, I can still recall the week long withdrawal I had when I finally kicked my habit 5 years ago. I had terrible pounding migraines, was irritable, and generally all around miserable until it got out of my system. It only reassured me further that I was making the right decision. Those calorie free cans were affecting my body in a big way, and that scared me.
Diet soda addiction may seem like an exaggeration, but it’s actually a real possibility. Not only is the caffeine addictive, but the artificial sweetener, aspartame might be too. The science behind this is your body tastes the sweetness when you consume artificial sweeteners. However, you’re not actually receiving the sugar. A study showed that sugar better rewarded the brain that artificial sweetener, so although your taste buds may be satisfied, your brain is let down. The brain tells your body that you need more of the sweetener as it tries to chase the “high.” The addiction can even go further into habits or rituals of drinking soda with meals or at the same time of day, similar to a smoker’s addiction.
If the mental and addictive affects of diet soda aren’t enough to convince you to stop drinking diet soda, consider the many other ways this beverage is wreaking havoc on your body. Diet soda is bad news, and here’s why:
10 Reasons to Dump Diet Soda
- It dulls your sweet senses making naturally sweet foods taste less so.
- Artificial sweeteners trigger an insulin response from your body that puts it into fat storage mode.
- It can raise your risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Studies show frequent diet soda drinkers are 30% more likely to be depressed.
- Female diet soda drinkers are 30% more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event.
- Diet soda can trigger migraines, due to the aspartame.
- Women who drink diet soda are 50% more like to die from cardiovascular disease.
- It’s destroying your teeth, maybe just as bad as a meth addict.
- Men who drink 1 or more diet sodas a day are at greater risk of leukemia and Hodgkin lymphoma.
- It’s causing damage to your brain. Aspartame has been linked to brain lesions and poor memory.
Diet soda might seem like a better option than guzzling down a can full of calories, but it’s not really what it’s chalked up to be. A research study conducted over 9 years found diet soda drinkers actually gained weight and had bigger waistlines than those who did not. The amount of diet soda people drink was directly related to their weight gain. The more soda consumed, the more weight they put on.
If you’re choosing diet soda to cut down on calories, you’re doing more harm than good. That’s not to say switching to regular soda is the answer. Either version of cola is going to have no nutritional value and contain a long list of ingredients that are detrimental to your health.
Consume Can With Caution
Whether you prefer a can or a bottle, drinking soda puts you at risk for BPA exposure. Soda cans are lined with bisphenyl-A, and many plastics contain them as well, or an equally as dangerous substitute. BPA is an endocrine disrupter that can cause reproductive and fertility issues, hormonal imbalances, and more.
Other ingredients in soda, such as sodium benzoate can cause hives, allergic reactions, and asthma attacks when combined with citric acid, like in many sodas, the combination forms cancer causing benzene. High fructose corn syrup in regular soda is derived from GMO crops and may contain glyphosate, an herbicide that is a probable carcinogen. High fructose corn syrup in beverages has been linked to obesity, a growing epidemic in the United States. The sugar, and the acid in all types of soda can erode tooth enamel and cause irreparable damage. Another ingredient of concern is phosphoric acid. A diet high in phosphorus is associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis and a greater break down of bones.
Kick the Can
Are you ready to rid yourself of your soda habit or to finally persuade a loved one to end their love affair with cola? The evidence to suggest diet soda is bad for you is there, but giving it up may be harder for some. Weaning off the beverage might be the easiest way. You can also try substituting a healthier option like a kombucha soda alternative or an organic soda. Adding fruit to soda water can also help if it’s the bubbles that are most appealing.
Cutting out soda alone can lead to a weight loss of up to 16 pounds in a year. That’s icing on the cake to the improvement you’ll be making to your overall health.