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There are a lot of reasons why you should stop drinking diet soda, and we’ve heard a lot about those reasons over the last several years. From causing bad headaches and gas buildup to damaging your teeth, the list of negative effects stretches on and on. Recently, an article was released citing a new study that shows diet soda may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems in older women!

If this isn’t enough to turn you off your diet soda addiction, there’s more.

Diet soda is supposed to be a calorie-free alternative to drinks with tons of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Millions of people enjoy these alternate beverages to satisfy their craving for fizzy drinks, replacing sugars with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, stevia, or saccharin. They’re pitched by marketing companies as a guilt-free way to enjoy soda without gaining weight. Unfortunately, guilt is the LEAST of your problems when you drink a lot of this stuff.

Artificial sweeteners really do a number on your body. They affect you both physically and mentally, tricking your body with a sweet taste and then making it confused when it doesn’t actually have any food energy to use. When your brain registers sweet flavors, it thinks it’s getting sugar, which it can convert into a form of energy. When all it gets is carbonated, flavored water with no nutritional value, it can’t create that energy. This causes it to rebel, making you crave foods it knows will give it energy (usually high in sugar and fat). It may also make it difficult for your brain to determine how it should process calories… it’s detecting that you’re consuming something sweet, but how does it know if it’s getting fizzy water (no calories) or pie (lots of calories)?

Study after study has linked certain artificial sweeteners and soda with a whole host of health problems – headaches, digestive troubles, dental erosion, even cancer. Many people convince themselves that diet soda is “healthy” when it’s really anything but. Falling into the mindset of “there are worse things I could drink” can lead to overindulging in other areas because you were “good” and didn’t drink your calories.

What’s the alternative? We’re glad you asked!

Breaking a diet soda habit can be hard. The taste and caffeine content can be very addicting, but there are other things you can try. If you drink soda with caffeine, that’s probably going to be the hardest habit to break. Try switching to a less damaging form of caffeine, like green tea. If it’s the sweetness you crave, try replacing your soda with snacks that are naturally sweet, like dried fruit. If you just can’t get enough of those bubbles, try combining a little bit of natural fruit juice with seltzer water. That will give you the fizz and a bit of taste without those fake sweeteners.

It’s important to be informed about what you eat and drink. Don’t let the marketing fool you into thinking diet soda is harmless… do your research!

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