One way people have attempted to lose weight is by reducing the number of calories they take in on a daily basis. This statement may have you thinking that people are decidedly eating less, or eating healthier, but in this case, dieters aren’t solely concerned about the food they eat, instead they are focusing on the beverages they choose to drink.
How Counting Calories Boosted Diet Soda Popularity
Counting calories has led many soda lovers to give up unwanted calories without giving up the refreshing carbonated caramel colored drink, instead many people have switched to the diet brand. Diet soda may contain 0 calories, but is it worth drinking with all of the other health risks that come with it?
Health Risks of Diet Soda Drinking
One of the most prevalent problems with drinking diet soda is the damage it causes to both your teeth and your bones. Although the sugar has been removed, diet soda contains phosphoric acid which is commonly used to increase carbonation levels in carbonated drinks, like diet soda. Phosphoric acid dissolves the enamel that protects teeth from substances that can cause them to decay.
In fact, diet soda can have a pH of up to 3.2. The amount of phosphoric acid can be found on the nutrition label and is higher for darker colored sodas than light or clear diet soda. The phosphoric acid in diet soda can also adversely affect your bone density. Although the phosphoric acid doesn’t come in direct contact with our bones, it can cause more frequent urination which can cause a calcium deficiency in the bloodstream. To make up for the lack of calcium in the bloodstream, calcium stored in our bones is slowly released, thus causing our bones to become less dense over time.
Further health risks that have been linked to the consumption of diet soda include kidney damage, and the potential to gain weight, instead of losing it. Studies have concluded that kidney function was more than 25% lower for those who drank two or more 12 oz. servings of diet soda, than in those who did not drink soda at all.
What About the Artificial Sweeteners?
With the lack of sugar present in diet sodas, more artificial sweeteners are being used as a replacement for flavor. Some of the results from studies conducted on the health risks of artificial sweeteners have determined that over time, these sweeteners which can be ten times stronger than sugar, can scar and damage tissue in the kidneys which inhibits the kidneys filtering capabilities.
Further research that was conducted has determined that by substituting diet soda for regular soda or other beverages may be counterproductive to weight loss. Studies show that people who drink diet soda are at an increased risk for obesity.
How Could Health Risks of Drinking Diet Soda Include Weight Gain?
One of the theories that has served as a link between drinking diet soda and obesity entertains the fact that people allow themselves to take in more calories through the foods they eat because their beverage is calorie free. Another way in which diet soda can contribute to obesity is by increasing your appetite. The artificial sweeteners trick our digestive system by making it “think” there is going to be foods rich in calories consumed, which secretes chemicals that make us feel hungry.
Additional studies are currently being conducted which may prove that diet soda can also be associated with depression. Considering the number of known health risks, and those yet to be discovered, the dangers of drinking diet soda seem to outweigh the calories you may be trying to cut from your diet.
What to Drink Instead of Diet Pop
If you are looking to lose weight by cutting calories, drinking water has far more health benefits that soda, diet soda, or juice. Did you just scrunch up your nose? It’s true that many people recommend water, but that refreshing beverage isn’t exactly exciting.
Though you should try to build the habit of drinking more water throughout the day, that doesn’t have to be the only thing you drink. There are some great and tasty alternatives that won’t harm your weight and that will hydrate you, too. Consider the following options:
- Tea – Whether you like green, black, white or red tea, or even herbal teas, as long as you don’t add anything to them, you’ll be able to enjoy all the flavor without filling up on empty calories. Moreover, many teas have potential health benefits that you can take in at the same time.
- Naturally flavored water – Water can be both a great option and one with flavor if you choose the right options to add to your glass. Consider drinking water with a slice of lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit in it. You may also like water with a few fresh mint leaves diffused into it. Many people are also surprised at how crisp and delicious a glass of water can be with a cucumber slice or two floating in it.
- Water enhancers – You may have noticed that there are many water flavoring products to help make your glass of water taste better. These can include everything from berry flavors to lemonade flavor or sweetened iced tea. Though these taste good, they often contain the same artificial sweeteners as diet soda and are therefore associated with the same health dangers. If you want to use a water enhancer, choose one with a natural sweetener such as stevia and use as little of it as possible.