Containing zero calories, little sodium, boasting a great taste and standing out as a relatively guilt-free indulgence, diet soda is a gargantuan hit across the world, especially in the United States where citizens spend billions of dollars annually to pop a top.
The average soda-drinkers downs the equivalent of three cans per day of the stuff, with some putting even more of the luscious liquid down their pipes. For some individuals, their diet soda drinking habits cross over the craze category and straight into addiction land, a scary place to be for anyone.
There is evidence on both sides of the aisle, none of which stands out as very conclusive, and everyone still wants to know the answer to the important question – is diet soda addictive?
Well, the answer to that is both yes and no, and we will bet to that a little later. Right now, one thing diet soda has proven not to be is very healthy for you. Although dieters across the globe throw this stuff down because of its 0-calorie nutrition label, new studies suggest that the overconsumption of diet drinks can lead to a lot of problems.
Health Risks Associated with Diet Soda
Of course, you wouldn’t think it by drinking it. It’s not like Coca-Cola is made with real cocaine these days. And containing zero sugars, diet sodas seem as if they’d be relatively harmless – carbonated water with some flavoring agents. However, studies are now showing that diet drinkers are at higher risks for a number of health issues, even if the whole “artificial sweeteners cause cancer” line is still shaky at best.
Drinking too much diet soda can put you at higher risk of:
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome (symptoms include: aging, weight gain, hormonal changes and insulin resistance)
- High blood pressure
- High triglycerides
- Kidney disease
- Fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic)
The Addictive Nature of Diet Soda
Because of the cancer-causing rumors surrounding a slew of artificial sweeteners, the little sweet-tasting substances have been tested and retested in every lab, office and back-alley garage in a dozen countries. The results seem to be inconclusive as to their addictive properties, even if they do contribute to the risk factors listed above.
From what we are able to find out, there are two culprits to contend with in the whole diet soda addiction rumor. The first, as you may have expected, is caffeine. Found in coffee, tea, soda and many other substances, caffeine can technically be classified as a legitimate drug. It is a stimulant. And like any stimulant, the brain and body can crave its affects and that can cause you to crave a soda.
However, it stands out as far more likely that diet soda addiction is just a bit of mind over matter. That’s not to say that the addiction isn’t real; it is. But in this context, we’re speaking more about habit. An individual gets used to the taste, to the sound of the can or bottle opening, to going through the motions of consuming the product and, viola, they have an addiction.
Addiction takes root in the brain and causes an individual to form a dependency. Whether you are dealing with an addiction to smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, eating too much or drinking diet soda, the basic premise of addiction remains the same. And like any addiction, diet soda addicts have a tough time kicking the habit.
In order to keep from becoming addicted to diet sodas, which are not good for your health if you consume too much of them, you should always drink them in moderation. Just because diet drinks have zero calories, you should not go crazy and consume multiple glasses per day.
Water is always your best option. You can enjoy a diet soda, but too much of a good thing simply isn’t a good thing.