Years ago I discovered a few downfalls of diet soda. If you drink ’em, you need to be informed of what they may be doing to your health.
I admit I was a hardcore diet soda addict. I remember my first sip of a diet soda was in the 80’s when Tab made its appearance. Yes, I just told I’m old. Can’t say I loved it, but I did fall in love with Diet Coke in my teen years then, later on, it was Diet Dr. Pepper. Even a Diet A&W made an appearance every now & then.
It wasn’t easy to give up, & I still have a craving ever so often. But when I started researching some of the downfalls of diet soda, I knew I had to give it up. Hopefully, these reasons will have you wanting to ditch the habit too.
5 Downfalls of Diet Soda:
1. Alters Your Gut Bacteria
Artificial sweeteners (I’m gonna refer to as AS for the rest of the post) can alter your gut flora. An Israeli study suggests AS may prefer the bacteria in the gut that causes you to absorb more calories from your food. Yes, you just read that right.
If that’s not bad enough, abnormally high blood sugar levels (aka “glucose intolerance”) are more likely when AS is consumed daily. AS raises insulin production & sends your body into fat-storing mode. This can lead to Type 2 Diabetes & metabolic syndrome (a little more on this in #4).
Absorb more calories from your food AND be more likely to develop Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome (1). 3 strikes right there!
If you carry a daily diet soda habit:
- 36% more likely to have metabolic syndrome
- 67% more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes
2. Increase Risk of Heart Problems
A study by the University of Miami & Columbia University followed AS volunteers for 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the participants were more likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or die from a vascular disease. The risk remained even when smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol were accounted for. (2)
3. Stroke & Dementia Risk Increase
Matthew Pase of Boston University found “people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years.” (3)
4. Can Lead to Obesity
AS seem to work like the saying goes “over promise & under deliver”.
AS tell your body you’re getting something sweet, but your brain doesn’t receive the message like it would with a sugared soda. The increase in insulin released (mentioned in #1 above) can lead to an increase in hunger, especially for sugary items, because your body needs to use the insulin it releases.
8 years of data collected from the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that for every diet soda consumed daily there was an increase of becoming overweight or obese…
- 54.5% increase for 1-2 cans drank daily
- 57.11% increase for 2+ cans drank daily
Another study showed after 9 ½ years, diet soda drinkers waistline increased 70% more than non-diet soda drinkers. What was so shocking is there was a 500% increase in waistline measurements when 2+ diet sodas were consumed daily! (4)
THOSE ARE ALL BIG PERCENTAGES!!!!
There will be things you miss.
That thing for me was Fizz. I missed it BAD! Something about chugging a fizzy drink when it’s hot outside. And maybe having a little burp to follow. Ok, I lied, a man burp!
Flavor preferences change over time. I wasn’t one who was strictly a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper gal. There was a phase when I drank Diet Cherry Pepsi, and I can’t stand Pepsi products. So, even with alternatives, you may need to change things up.
As crazy as it sounds, you CAN go through withdrawals. So, I recommend you cut back slowly if you are consuming 1 or more diet soda per day. Try to cut down the number of diet sodas per day, then cut back on the number of days per week until you eliminate them completely.
How to Avoid the Downfalls of Diet Soda & Ditch the Habit:
1. Find a stevia sweetened alternative.
Zevia is my family’s favorite brand
Virgil’s Zero. Still only drink occasionally, don’t go hog wild.
2. Sweeten Your Sparkling Water
Use Pellegrino, Perrier or another sparkling water & sweeten with crushed fruit, a little juice or a drop or two of flavored stevia.
3. Flavored Carbonated Water
There are TONS out there now! My favorite is Cascade Ice Raspberry.
There is also La Croix, Purity Organic (contains juice) & Spindrift (contains juice) are a few other options.
4. Drink Good Ol’ Water or Infused Water.
Kicking a diet soda habit can be brutal, & I’m not telling you to switch from a daily habit to water overnight. With these tips, the transition should be a bit easier than quitting cold turkey.
Let me hear from you…Are you a diet soda addict? Trying to kick the habit? Have you had success? Share what’s worked for you in the comments below.