Chances are if you’re drinking diet soda you’re either trying to lose weight or you consider it a “healthier” option that regular soda and are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diet soda has no calories, no adverse effects on your diet (or your waistline!), no guilt, and the same great taste as the sugary-calorie-laden variety. What could be better right!? Well, not so fast. Many people have bought into diet soda as a “healthy” food, but that just isn’t the case! Let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on with diet sodas.
Before it even gets to your stomach it’s causing problems. Regular soda is hard on tooth enamel, with the sugar and acid being the most problematic ingredients. Diet soda eliminates the sugar, but not the acid. The acid eats away our tooth enamel, which is our main barrier our teeth have against decay. From there they acidifying your entire system, disrupting the good flora in your gut, where about 60 percent of your immune system resides, and wreaking havoc on our general health.
Diet sodas boast of having no sugar, yet still having the same sweet taste. This is because diet drinks are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of the real deal. Most varieties use aspartame, like the popular sodas Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke. This nasty little chemically derived sweetener has accounted for over 75 percent of the complaints reported in the FDA’s Adverse Reaction Monitoring system. The most common adverse reactions attributed to aspartame are headaches, dizziness, attention difficulties, memory loss, slurred speech and vision problems. Other problems linked to aspartame are depression, skin irritations, menstrual problems, fibromyalgia, and joint pain.
Besides the serious health concerns, aspartame causes something called the “cephalic phase response.” It makes your brain think that what you’re eating is sweet, so even though there are no calories to absorb the brain triggers a surge of insulin into your bloodstream telling your body, “Sugar is here! Stop burning fat and use the sugar instead!” This results in a vast array of insulin-related problems: increased appetite, increased urge to eat (especially simple carbohydrates like those found in junk foods like cupcakes, potato chips, and candy bars). Your body increases fat storage, halts all healthy protein-and-starch production, and releases a cascade of pro-inflammatory bio-chemicals that lower your immunity. You’re left a confused caloric monitoring system, which compels you to plump up and eat even more unhealthy stuff later! Yikes.
Diet soda isn’t looking so innocent now is it? There’s a lot of research still to be done, and while diet sodas are still FDA approved, I’d rather be safe than sorry. If you’re currently hooked on the stuff I recommend you try starting each day with a big bottle full of pure water, add a squirt of lemon juice, and drink to your health! Avoid the sodas and vending machines, and just see if you don’t start feeling better a whole lot better. A friend of mine put it simply, “I don’t drink diet soda. It has “die” in the name!”