This is a tricky subject for many people. In an attempt to be healthier and lose weight, diet soda seems like a good or at least safe choice. Many studies would suggest otherwise. If your goal is to move toward a healthier lifestyle and a sustainable healthy diet, you may want to consider ditching diet soda altogether.
Consider that if you do an internet search on “health benefits of diet soda” that in addition to not finding studies extolling the health benefits of diet soda, you will find many references to the negative impact of drinking diet soda. About the only benefit that can be pointed out is fewer calories when compared with sugar or HFCS sweetened soda. In addition, your search will also point you to sites pointing out the negative impact that any soda (diet or not) will have on your health. Your best bet is to take steps to move from soda to other beverages. If I gave you a list of things to do to move to a healthier lifestyle, I would put ditching diet soda at the top of the list.
1. Numerous studies associate diet soda consumption with a larger waist circumference. There are many studies that are finding this link, and there are several possible explanations. If you are drinking diet soda to lose weight and for a thinner waist, then this is reason enough to give it up. Many studies point to a connection between diet soda consumption and metabolic syndrome, which will increase further this effect.
2. There continue to be questions regarding the long-term safety of artificial sweeteners. Using google.com to search for Aspartame along with terms like long term effects or safety will reveal more than a million results or half a million respectively; a quick review of these links turns up enough troubling information to make me want to skip aspartame altogether – not just in soda or beverages.
As an example, check out these two studies from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health regarding the long term intake of aspartame on antioxidant defense status in liver and the long-term consumption of aspartame and brain antioxidant defense status. These are just two of many studies that have been done, and these focus only on the antioxidant effects of these two important organs. It’s your body, you only get one, and you owe it to yourself to do the research to understand the potential risks.
So to answer the question that I always get then: “what can I drink then?” I provide the following short list of suggestions:
coffee, tea (green or black), water, herb teas or if you really want the fizzy feel of soda, consider plain seltzer water, seltzer water with a fruit essence flavor, or mineral water. Each of these brings it’s own benefits without the risks and negative impact of diet soda.
Have questions or want to leave a comment about your experience with diet soda? Use the field below – I’d love to hear from you!