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Diet Soda- Good or Bad?

Fizzy, sweet beverages are often a warmer weather must-have. They can quench your thirst just as good as water with way more flavor- what's not to love about that?

Well, for starters- beverages that are not considered diet are often packed with sugar and calories that do nothing for your body except sky-rocket your blood sugar and help you add unwanted body fat. Unfortunately, switching to diet beverages may not be a better alternative.

Although "zero calories" and "zero sugar" sounds great, the health impact that regular consumption of diet beverages can have on your overall health isn't as positive. A growing body of research has shown that regular consumption of diet soda seems to be linked with higher health and disease risks, such as:

  • heart conditions, such as heart attack and high blood pressure

  • metabolic issues, including diabetes and obesity

  • brain conditions, such as dementia and stroke

  • liver problems, which include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Although the studies have been numerous, it isn't completely clear that diet soda is the root cause of any of these health risks or diseases, but regular consumption does appear to add to the threat. One reason diet soda may increase health risks is because it is thought to damage your blood vessels and/or cause chronic inflammation inside your body. The other potential downfall of consuming diet beverages is the effect that it can have on your sweet tooth.

Your tastebuds (which help signal to your digestive system that calories are on the way!) think the sweet-tasting diet beverage you're consuming has tons of calories that are not actually there. When this registers with your body, it will often respond by becoming very hungry and/or craving sweet foods and drinks to make up for its confusion. Many people have reported that they feel hungry after drinking diet beverages and have a hard time controlling their cravings, causing them to overeat or overindulge in foods they might otherwise be able to avoid.

If you can handle the sugar cravings or any increase in appetite, then the occasional diet beverage most likely won't cause any negative long-term health effects. However, if diet beverages are a regular thing in your current diet, you may want to consider substituting any of those beverages for naturally flavored seltzer water, unsweetened teas, or (the best option!) plain water.

Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you to kick your diet beverage habit? Let us know in the comments!

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