There was a time when I drank diet sodas all the time. My friends and I were happy we had something to drink besides water that wouldn’t make us gain weight (supposedly). Plus it had a little caffeine boost (something all of us needed to get through the college years). But when I was getting my health counseling certification last year, I decided to cut it out (along with as many unnatural foods as possible). Diet soda is full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners. I had no way of knowing what negative affects it was having on my brain, my blood, or anywhere in my body. Once I cut it out, an amazing result happened. If I tried to go back and drink a diet soda, I would get an enormous headache (a little signal from my body that it was happy I wasn’t drinking it anymore and that I really shouldn’t start up again). Our bodies are genius that way.
There are tons of scary studies you can read about the negative effects of diet soda and other studies that explain how a little won’t hurt. All I know is I feel better when I don’t drink it. One recent study included 3,200 women who drank two or more servings of diet soda every day. Harvard Medical school researchers found that those who drank 2+ sodas had a 30% decrease in function of their kidneys. Pretty scary. Those who drank one or less did not have any reduction in kidney function.
Just like with any habit, it’s hard to stop at first, but it gets easier every day, and then suddenly you can’t even figure out why you were hooked. These days I drink more water and I also love teas. There is an infinite variety of teas and you can make them hot, cold, lightly sweetened or unsweetened. There are teas with a little caffeine and teas that are relaxing. For me, tea is a great beverage to drink in addition to water. You can also buy 100% fruit juices and dilute it with water to cut calories and sugar. Remember to keep it natural. Many bottled teas and juices are filled with too much sugar. Buying your own tea is definitely cheaper. If you like a little sweetness, try adding a small spoonful of honey or agave nectar.
I love to put honey in my tea. A little daily honey really helped me reduce allergy symptoms. But that topic’s for another day!
Are you hooked on diet soda? Or, have you recently kicked a diet soda habit? Write about it in the comments. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Update: This post was featured on the following blog carnivals:
Fitbuff’s Health, Dating, and Fitness Carnival 147
Athletic Alley’s Sexy Organic Blog Carnival 3
Baby Boomers Blog Carnival 33
Carnival of Healing 224