When you decide it's time to make a change to your diet, one of the first things a lot of people do is switch out the regular soda for diet. It saves on calories and sugar, and can still give you the caffeine boost and beverage variety you're looking for. But some recent studies say that diet drinks might not be much better for your health.
A 2007 study from Boston University found that both sugar sodas and diet drinks boost the risk of metabolic syndrome- a collection of risk factors that increase your risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Another study, published in the journal Circulation, found the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none. Keep in mind that these studies show an association between diet soda and metabolic syndrome. They don't necessarily say that drinking diet soda will lead you to develop the condition.
One theory suggests that artificial sweeteners may lead to increased food intake because they alter our sense of taste and interfere with the body's ability to properly assess how many calories are in foods. Therefore, you end up eating more- and we know that overweight and obesity are risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome.
I think switching from regular soda to diet is a good way to slowly wean yourself off of these kinds of drinks. But ideally, I think it's a good idea to ditch the soda completely. (Sorry, all of you Diet Coke lovers!) If the idea of drinking water bores you, try adding a slice of fruit or sample some of the sparkling, mineral or fruit-flavored varieties on the market today.
What do you think? Are you a diet soda drinker? Have you noticed whether or not it affects your hunger level and how much you're eating? Have you considered giving it up, or are you happy as you are?
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