How Bad Are Diet Sodas Really?
By: Eva Sorrentino, MS, RD, LD
The short answer: everything in moderation. Diet sodas are not the most recommended beverage if you ask any dietitian but they are not all bad. Diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, asesulfame-potassium, or stevia. Artificial sweeteners can cause bloating or abdominal discomfort and some people have aversion to the taste.
Some studies have tied an increase use of artificial sweeteners with increased craving for sweets, weight gain, and cardiovascular problems but long term studies are still inconclusive. Whether you chose regular or diet sodas, they have no nutritional value. Carbonated beverage have been shown to break down teeth enamel and over long term and excessive use, can cause brittle bones. Weight gain happens when we consume more calories that we burn off throughout the day so if you are watching calories, a calorie-free beverage like diet soda can help cut down on excess calorie intake. In general, one or two sodas a day will not cause problems.
If you are looking for a healthier version, chose a diet soda that is sweetened with a natural calorie free sweetener such as stevia or try infusing fruit in plain water. Try these refreshing combinations:
Slice washed fruit and add to 1 cup of water (tap or bottled)
- Lemon blueberry-1 lemon wedge with handful of blueberries
- Raspberry lime-1 lime wedge, 5-8 raspberries
- Citrus-1 slice grapefruit, 1 slice orange
- Cucumber mint-2-3 fresh mint leaves, 3-4 slices cucumber
- Mixed berry-5-6 each sliced strawberry, raspberries, blackberries