Regular vs. Diet Soda

Many people feel they can’t go a day without their soda fix. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 63% of youth and 49% of adults drink a sugar-sweetened beverage on any given day; which includes regular and diet soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks and coffee/tea with added sugars. With sugar-sweetened beverages all around us and soda at the top of the list, you might be asking yourself what is the lesser of two evils.

Regular soda is on the list to avoid because of the high calories and amount of sugar that easily puts one over their sugar limit for the day. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis.

Diet soda may seem healthier because it has less calories and sugar, however the alternative ingredients could be just as harmful, if not worse. The sugar substitutes in diet soda contain ingredients such as artificial sugars and unnatural chemicals. Artificial sweeteners can increase one's risk for weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, "artificial sweeteners can be 1000 times sweeter than sugar, so your body becomes confused and revs up production of insulin, your fat-storage hormone. Your metabolism slows down, you become hungry more quickly, you’re prone to eat way more food".

Whatever option of soda choose, there are many health effects on the body that are ‘soda pressing’.

The Verdict? Well, unfortunately, both versions of soda have very negative health effects so there is no winner of this Food Fight. While there are few differences between them, they really are a horse a piece.

TIPS: We know the verdict above might not have been what you were hoping for, but there are many ways to find a healthier alternative to your soda fix.

Some ways to help lure yourself off of the soda addiction are to:

  • Slowly and gradually reduce the amount you drink- It is very hard to stop cold turkey, but slow changes can make a big impact. If you have multiple cans a day, start by reducing it to one a day or even 3 a week. Give each change about two weeks, then set another goal.
  • Switch up the drink- Obviously water is the best option, however we know that change can be difficult. Try pouring half a glass of soda and the rest with water, this can help wean you off soda, while staying hydrated. Other drink alternatives could be unsweetened ice tea with lemon, coffee with milk, 100% juice, or even carbonated water to give you the fizz.
  • Start tracking your calories and paying attention to how much soda you have.
  • Water- As mentioned above it is hard to switch to water right out of the gate, but enjoying a glass of water before cracking open a soda might help you feel fuller and give you the refreshment you were looking for. Adding fruits or veggies to your water can help flavor up the drink.
  • Avoid soda triggers- if you always find yourself in front of a vending machine purchasing a sugary beverage, try a different route in school, work, or the mall to limit the cravings.

We know cutting a habit, such as drinking soda, can be very hard, but give it a try because you could start feeling health benefits within a few days and your body will be thanking you!