I’ve been there. Worried about too many calories or too much sugar, I ordered a diet soda, feeling a little bit better about my healthier choice.
I’ve heard that regularly drinking soda (or “pop” as I’ve learned it’s called in Western NY) has health risks like increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Since diet soda doesn’t have sugar or calories, it’s a better choice, right? Well, not quite.
How Diet Soda is Different
Diet soda may have fewer calories in the short-term, but there’s still long-term harm to your health. Diet soda and other “sugar free” drinks are sweetened artificially with high-intensity sweeteners. Research shows that regularly drinking artificial sweeteners harms the body:
- Increases the risk of dementia and stroke
- Greater risk for glucose intolerance
- Linked with extra fat around the waist
- Changes the way your brain detects the “sweet” taste
What’s the Bottom Line?
When it comes to regular or diet soda, moderation is key. What does moderation look like? Research shows that even one can of soda (regular or diet) per day can harm your health. If you regularly drink soda, some simple swaps can help you kick the habit:
- Add fruit to water to boost the flavor. Lemons, limes and oranges work great
- Try flavored sparking water. Look for one that has only 2 ingredients: carbonated water and natural flavors
- Carry a water bottle with you to make it easy to grab when you’re thirsty
Looking for other simple changes that can have a big impact on your health? Check out 50 Small Changes for a Healthier Life.