Why I quit drinking Diet Coke
I grew up drinking Diet Coke like water. In my teens and my twenties, I would drink at least 1 can of soda a day. Chances are that you or someone you know has consumed an aspartame-containing diet soda within the past 24 hours. In 2010, one-fifth of all Americans drank a diet soda on any given day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And it wasn't until I started on my own health and fitness journey that I took the time to research just how bad it was for me.
I was the girl that counted calories to try to lose weight. I thought that because Diet Coke had 0 calories, then it wasn't bad for me....right? Wrong.
Not all calories are created equal. You have to look at the ingredients as well, and how they will affect your body.
Here are some things that I learned about diet soda, which ultimately lead me to my decision to give it up cold turkey:
1. It could lead to weight gain (instead of weight loss)
Even though the label reads zero calories, this won't necessarily help you lose weight. Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of about a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. On top of that, participants who drank two or more sodas a day experienced a 500% greater increase. The way artificial sweeteners confuse the body may play a part, but another reason might be psychological, says Minnesota-based dietitian Cassie Bjork.
When you drink a diet soda you aren't drinking any calories - BUT you also aren't taking in something that's good for your body either. Try to swap out good old H2O instead, and help improve your body's natural processing.
2. The artificial sweeteners are linked to headaches
According to Headaches.org, Aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet soda, may trigger headaches in some people. The classic "sugar crash" after the high just isn't worth it in my opinion.
3. It can lower bone density
Women over 60 are already at a greater risk for osteoporosis than men, and Tufts University researchers found that drinking soda, including diet soda, compounds the problem. They discovered that female cola drinkers had nearly 4% lower bone mineral density in their hips than women who didn't drink soda. The research even controlled for the participants' calcium and vitamin D intake. Additionally, a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola intake (all kinds, not just diet) was associated with low bone-mineral density in women.
4. It can clean a toilet, and remove rust from a dime...
And 42 other things that don't have anything to quenching my thirst. It kind of blows my mind that it can do all of these things, and that it's still "safe" to drink.
5. It ruins your pearly whites
General Dentistry compared the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet-soda drinker, and found the same level of tooth erosion in each of them. The citric acid, which weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time. On top of that, the dark colored soda can stain your teeth too.
I know it's not easy to give up something you love (or are used to) cold turkey. Here are some tips from Health.com on how to stop drinking soda:
1. Wean yourself off slowly.
2. Mix it with water.
3. Start tracking your calories.
4. Switch to unsweetened iced tea.
5. Drink a glass of water first.
6. Give seltzer a try.
7. Class up your water with fruits!