I’ll be honest, I used to be a diet soda addict. I would easily polish off four or five cans a day, sometimes even larger bottles. As the years went on, I did cut back, but never quit. There was just something about the refreshing bubbles and caffeine that I couldn’t quite give up. I had heard people tell me how horrible diet soda was for you, but I didn’t really listen. I didn’t drink a lot of alcohol or smoke, so I figured one small vice was ok…But, after doing a little research myself, I learned I was horribly wrong. The side effects of diet soda are definitely real and they are not good. So, on my quest to live 80% cleaner, I decided I was going to stop drinking diet soda once and for all. I did not want the side effects of diet soda any longer and I was going to suffer through the withdrawal to finally kick the habit.
Toxic Chemicals in Diet Soda
The main toxic culprit in diet soda is the artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. These sweeteners don’t have any calories, so many people think they are being healthier, while also quieting their craving for something sweet. Artificial sweeteners actually trigger your insulin, which actually makes your body store more fat – the complete opposite of what you want. These sweeteners also mess with your body’s ability to know when it is full, leading you to eat more – again, not what you want.
Along with artificial sweeteners, diet soda also contains a whole host of other chemicals and colorings that have no nutritional value and leave you worse for the wear. If you are drinking your diet soda in a can, also know that you are ingesting BPA. You can learn more about the dangerous health risks associated with BPA in my post Three Easy Ways to Avoid BPA and BPS.
Dangerous Side Effects of Diet Soda
So, what does diet soda actually do to your body? A lot it turns out. Below are a few of the dangerous side effects of diet soda that made me finally quit.
The high acidity from citric acid in diet soda can damage your tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and cavities.
A lot of people struggle with mild to moderate depression in this country as it is and drinking diet soda doesn’t help. Studies have shown that people who drink soda (diet soda more severely) have a 30% increase in chance of developing depression. (Read my post 6 Ways to Start Treating Mild Depression Naturally to learn more.)
Studies have shown that just one diet soda a day can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Scary.
Studies have also shown that just one diet soda a day is linked to over a 30% higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome symptoms can include high cholesterol, heart disease (see above), elevated glucose, and increased abdominal fat. These symptoms can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes (see above).
Diet soda has been shown to increase kidney decline up to two times faster than non-diet soda drinkers. It only takes two diet sodas a day to start seeing the decline.
Osteoporosis is a problem for many aging women. Women who drink soda showed to have a 4% lower bone mineral density that those who didn’t drink soda.
Many people don’t know that diet soda contains mold inhibitors, even though regular soda does not. Mold inhibitors go by the names sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate on the ingredients list. These mold inhibitors can cause damage to your mitochondria in your DNA, basically deactivating it. These chemicals have also been shown to cause allergic reactions like hives and asthma, along with more mild reactions in the eyes, mucous membranes and skin.
As you can see from the list above, diet soda is not good stuff. I really didn’t realize that there were these side effects of diet soda, but now that I do, I pretty much quit cold turkey. I can’t say that there haven’t been moments, especially when I’m having a super tired, long morning at work, but I always remind myself of one of these side effects and I reach for a seltzer water or and iced green tea instead. (See my post 5 Health Benefits of Green Tea to learn all the benefits of green tea.)
Here’s what I’m drinking (other than good old fashioned water) instead of diet soda.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had issues with giving up diet soda and how you’re making it work.
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