Is Diet Soda Bad for You? Here Are 4 Tips For How to Kick it
Good ol’ diet pop. I am not going to lie, I love it — especially Diet Coke or even an occasional Diet Mountain Dew. In the past, I would enjoy them more often than I should have. I allowed myself to drink them for the mere fact that they wouldn’t add any calories to my daily intake. I never liked regular soda, so that was not an issue.
This has changed most recently: Now that I am pregnant, I very rarely have any pop at all now. It is amazing how that happens. But while I do miss diet soda, I am hoping this pregnancy will help kick off a healthier habit for a lifetime that is completely soda-free, both regular and diet.
Everyone knows that regular soda is a no-no, especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight loss goals. That’s because of all the “empty” sugar calories that contribute to weight gain. There is evidence that shows choosing a non-caloric beverage can help with weight loss goals. Enter diet sodas with no calories.
Isn’t Diet Soda Better than Regular?
Not necessarily. How good can something made of mostly chemicals actually be for your body? Think about it: Aspartame, phosphoric acid and food coloring are just a few chemicals found in most diet colas. If diet soda is bad for a pregnant woman and a growing baby, how can it really be good for anyone?
There are a variety of research studies that tie diet soda to weight gain and suggest diet soda is bad for you:
- An American Diabetes Association study showed that drinking diet soda is associated with wider waistlines in humans, which means diet soda can cause or aid in weight gain. This same study also showed that Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in diet sodas, actually raised the blood sugar in mice that were prone to diabetes.
- A new study in the “Journal of General Internal Medicine” shows that drinking diet soda every day is linked with a higher risk of stroke and heart attack too.
4 Ways to Help You Ditch Diet Pop
- Wean yourself off of it. Think about how much diet pop you realistically drink in a day or a week. Now slowly decrease that amount. For example, if you have three diet sodas per day, then start having only two a day and do this for a week. Then next week, have only one per day. Or if you only have one diet pop per day and seven in a week, try having only six this week, five next week and so on. The goal here is to really be strategic and plan when you are going to have your diet soda as you wean yourself down. This will help you cut it out altogether.
- Hone in on your ritual. Think about when you you have your diet pop. Is it with a meal or a salty snack? The salty snack is my downfall because I seem to really enjoy the sweetnees of the diet soda with the salt. How about that 3 p.m. slump time or at night when you are watching TV and enjoying some popcorn? Whenever it is, think about adjusting your routine so the diet pop is unnecessary.
- Drink some water. Speaking of adjusting the routine, try drinking water instead. Since the base of diet soda is water, you will definitely want to replenish the hydration aspect from having diet beverages. As you are weaning off, train yourself to have a glass of water before you have the diet drink. This way you are not only stopping a bad habit, but you are also starting a good one.
- Ask yourself what you like about it. Is it the sweetness, the caffeine or the carbonation? Whatever it may be, find a way to replace that actual craving. If you like sweet, try eating a piece of fruit and enjoying a glass of water. By doing this you will not only stay hydrated, but also get some good nutrition and fiber from the naturally sweet fruit. If you need that caffeine kick try enjoying some tea or coffee. But remember to be careful what you add to these beverages so you don’t add extra, unneeded and unwanted calories from sugar or cream. If you like that bubbly carbonation, try club soda or seltzer water as a fun effervescent drink without the calories.
Join me in my quest to ditch diet pop to live a healthier lifestyle. Are you already weaning off the diet soda? What helped you quit diet pop?
Photo credit: Mike Mozart