A: Although diet soda does not contain calories or sugar, some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners, like those in diet soda, are associated with weight gain and increased blood sugar. It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but scientists and health professionals suspect that a few factors might be at play. One theory is that artificial sweeteners might interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate your food intake based on a food’s sweetness. In other words, you aren’t as satisfied with smaller amounts of sweets, so you tend to overindulge. In addition to this, you may using diet soda to compensate for eating fattening meals, which then results in weight gain.
In terms of safety, most artificial sweeteners are considered safe by the FDA, but because there is not long-term research on the effects of high amounts of these man-made compounds over time, it’s safest to keep your intake minimal. For instance, having a diet soda once or twice a week is probably not going to have any effect on your weight or health, but drinking one or two a day is where it can start to add up. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the acids in soft drinks — including diet versions — can erode tooth enamel.
If you’re a daily diet soda drinker, we recommend slowly replacing soda with naturally flavored water or seltzer/club soda. Seltzer has the fizziness of soda, and if you add lime, lemon, or even a splash of juice (no more than 1 – 2 ounces) you also add flavor. Before you know it, you’ll be kicking your diet soda habit, and possibly losing even more weight!
Who out there is a diet soda drinker? Are you trying to kick the habit? Already kicked it? How’d you do it?