Most people choose diet sodas in an effort to reduce calories for weight loss or to prevent weight gain. They usually consider their choice of diet soda to be a healthy alternative. But are they? When it comes to low-calorie and no-calorie drinks, you might want to rethink your options and just say no to diet soda.
If you’re looking for a healthy drink as a treat or to enjoy with a meal, diet sodas aren’t the hot ticket you may think they are. Just because they have no calories, doesn’t make them healthy. Sure, there’s no sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, which is great, but they’re usually loaded with chemicals that aren’t doing anything good for your body.
Why Say No to Diet Soda?
But if there are no calories and no sugar, why should you say no to diet soda? Here are just a few reasons:
- Most diet sodas, especially colas, are highly acidic which can promote tooth decay.
- They may cause kidney issues according to a Harvard Medical School study.
- Diet sodas may lead to metabolic syndrome, bringing on issues with blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar (yes, even despite having no sugar in the drinks).
- Symptoms of depression may become amplified.
- There may be an increased risk of stroke or heart attack in at-risk individuals.
- You might experience weight gain!
That last one about weight gain probably has you scratching your head. With no calories and no sugar, you should either lose weight or at least maintain the same weight, so the math just doesn’t add up, right?
According to the University of Texas Health Center and Purdue University, artificial sweeteners make it tough for your body to regulate calorie intake, as the sweetness tricks your body into thinking calories are on the way into your system. That can stimulate your appetite, causing you to consume more calories. As an added problem, that extra weight gain can cause hormonal imbalances that further affect weight, muscle tone, and mood.
While the occasional diet soda isn’t necessarily anything to worry about, we’ve all experienced the hard-to-resist cravings once we give in to a soda or two here and there, so it’s best to avoid them all together. But worry not! You’re not stuck drinking just plain water when you’re on a weight-loss mission. Here are a few tasty beverage options you should consider:
- Unsweetened iced tea: Black or green tea are relatively easy to find already brewed, or you can also make your own iced tea at home.
- Sparkling water: There are soda water machines for your home, or you can find a wide variety of bottled and canned flavored and non-flavored carbonated water options at your local grocery store.
- Sparkling water with fruit juice: If you’re not trying to avoid sugar completely, a splash of fruit juice can make sparkling water a real treat with minimal effects on calorie intake.
- Water: Filtered water is always a great option and great for you, but you can also kick it up a notch by squeezing a bit of lemon and/or lime into it, or you can peel and slice a cucumber and add it to a pitcher of water for a tasty and refreshing drink.
For the sake of your health and weight loss goals, it’s probably best to say no to diet sodas, but there are plenty of options that are just as delicious without any of the negative effects. Use your imagination and get a little creative.