One of the best things a person can do for themselves is to quit drinking diet soda, but sometimes it can be hard to break the habit. When the weather gets warm, or you’re noshing on that great big burger, a diet soda with a straw over ice can seem like the best thing ever, but studies have found that diet drinks of all kinds can cause stroke, heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
An article published in the journal called Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that the idea that artificial sweeteners area healthy option is misleading. According to the lead researcher of the study, Susan E. Swithers, PhD, and a professor of behavioral neuroscience with Perdue University, despite the fact that many of us are led to believe that diet drinks are ways to help offset some of the risk for diabetes and obesity, the truth is that those that drink diet soda have no better chances of not developing these conditions than those that drink full calorie sodas.
According to Swithers, there is a sort of unhealthy cycle that goes on when people drink diet sodas: they tend to give themselves “permission” to enjoy higher fat foods because they’ve been consuming only diet drinks. When they do this too much, it’s easy to develop eating habits that are less than healthy.
Not to mention the way that artificial sweeteners cause the body to digest food. Swithers says that sugars found in fruits and veggies can actually be beneficial for you. The body releases hormones that stimulate metabolism, which leaves us feeling more satisfied. It can also help to regulate the blood sugar, and can even protect the heart. On the other hand, when artificial sweeteners are consumed, the body notices the sweet taste at first, but then becomes confused and suppresses the hormones the body needs to work properly.
As if this isn’t enough to make you want to quit drinking diet soda, maybe the fact that drinking large amounts of it can change the brain’s pleasure center patterns. Diet sweeteners likely do not even satisfy the sweet tooth of many people.
If you’re the type that will drink a diet soda once every few weeks, then you probably don’t have much to worry about when it comes to quitting, but if you’re a habitual diet soda drinker, you should try to give it up.
Try cutting down from one daily to one every other day. Often, this helps people to reduce their cravings for soda. Be sure to change your routine when you do choose to have one, though, to prevent the “every other day” habit.
Trade soda for sparkling water and add a splash of real fruit juice for a sweet flavor, or if it’s caffeine you seek, consider brewing some tea yourself. This can be a refreshing way to enjoy your caffeine, experience a calm, focused feel and kick the diet soda.
Failing these tricks, just take a look at what’s in the diet soda you’re about to drink. If you can’t identify the ingredients, maybe you shouldn’t be drinking that soda.