Regardless of whether or not you are trying to lose weight, experts believe drinking diet soda may do more harm than good to your body. Sugar-free beverages have been linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and obesity associated with diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, as well as a decline in healthy kidney function. Here are three more reasons to ditch the diet soda:
- Junk Food May Be Less Tempting. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois revealed that people who drink diet or sugar-free beverages actually consume more high-calorie junk food during the day (such as fried foods, snacks, and sweets loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats)—resulting in a higher caloric intake overall. However, those who avoided diet drinks were much less likely to fill up on junk and consumed fewer daily calories on average.
- Healthy Foods May Be More Tempting. According to Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital, because artificial sweeteners are more potent than regular sugars on the sweetness scale, consuming too much of them might make healthier foods (such as vegetables and even fruit) seem unappealing because they don’t pack that super sweet punch. The result? You may end up eating even more junk because your body craves the complex artificial flavors. Eliminating them from your diet, on the other hand, may increase your desire for more nutritious foods.
- Your Gut Bacteria May Be Better Off. Scientists in Israel determined recently that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin may be changing our gut bacteria and contributing to obesity and related health conditions. When a group of young mice was fed a daily dose of water mixed with artificial sweeteners, the faux sugar solution stimulated the growth of certain microbes linked to fat storage. In addition, it delayed healthy glucose absorption, causing abnormally high blood sugar
At the end of the day, experts agree water is the healthiest choice for hydration. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified (filtered) water daily, and you can always add a splash of lemon or lime juice for flavorful twist!