17 Feb Diet or Regular Soda: Is One Really Better for You?
Back in 2012, a Gallup poll revealed that about half of the American population was drinking soda on a daily basis. As of more recently, that number has dropped to around 20%, with about 60% Americans reporting that they’re actively trying to avoid soda (whether regular or diet) altogether.
As a doctor, can I just tell you how happy that statistic makes me? SO happy!
We’ve gotten better as a population, but there’s still room for improvement! Among the 20% that’s still consuming it regularly, some people believe that choosing diet soda over regular soda is better for your health. But is it really? Let’s look at the effects of both kinds of soda on the body.
It’s no secret that soda negatively impacts your health, and there’s lots of research out there to back this up. Drinking soda regularly increases your risk for obesity by 27%. A 20-year study found that it increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 26% and increases your risk for having a heart attack by 20%.
For an insightful infographic that spells out how soda affects your body in just an hour after consumption, click here.
One of the biggest appeals of “diet” soda is that it’s supposed to help you lose weight. No sugar and no calories, right?
Well, not really. It’s true that diet soda uses artificial sweeteners instead of real sugar and that it has no calories, but this is more likely to indirectly increase your waistline. Why? Because the artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking that calories and nutrients are on the way, even though they’re not. As a result, you crave more and usually eat more. There’s also a psychological aspect to it—when you think you’re consuming less calories because you’re drinking diet soda, you might use that as an excuse to eat more calories than you normally would.
For an infographic on how diet soda immediately affects the body, click here.
So, Which One?
When it comes down to the nitty gritty details, soda is NOT good for you, no matter what form it comes in. Is the sugary carbonation really worth compromising your health? I think not.
Cutting back can be difficult, so be sure you’re replacing your soda with something, like water. If water doesn’t sound terribly appetizing, try sprucing it up with a lemon slice or a sprig of mint. You can also use a water enhancer (but do your research first—a lot of brands will brag that they have no sugar or calories, but they use artificial sweeteners or chemicals). Going cold turkey might result in caffeine withdrawal, depending on how much soda you drink regularly, so try to cut back a little at a time until you’re soda-free.
If you have any questions about your health, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Mai Sharaf, by calling 817-617-8650 or by scheduling online at continuumtx.com.