Each day for the last year or so I have treated myself to a can of diet pop. It tastes good, and it has zero calories – what could be better? It is so relaxing to sit working at the computer with my good old can of diet whatever.
Recently I chose several diet pop (or diet soda as they call it) articles to write for a site, and in researching for them learned just how unhealthy diet pop is. I pretty much knew that already (most of the ingredients are unfamiliar and/or unpronounceable, and that’s never a good sign), but here are some of the highlights (or lowlights) so far:
- Drinking two or more diet drinks per day is correlated to an increase in kidney dysfunction. A huge study released in October 2009 found that women drinking 2 or more cans of diet pop daily had a 30% drop in a measure of kidney function vs. those who drank less or none. This was even when other factors were considered, such as whether the participants had high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Yeah, I know I only drink one can a day – but if two is bad, one can’t be great either.
- Drinking diet drinks is associated with higher rates of obesity – much higher than for people who drink regular pop. There’s no proof that diet drinks “cause” obesity, and theories why the two go hand in hand vary, but most likely it’s because the flavor of diet drinks tricks your body into thinking high-calorie, yummy foods are on the way. When they’re not, your body responds by craving them, increasing your hunger.
- I haven’t researched this one yet, but recently the dental hygienist told me that she discouraged soft drinks in general, and especially those containing citric or phosphoric acids, because they are so hard on tooth enamel. She said that many teenagers came into the office with lots of cavities, and many of them drank lots of Mountain Dew (which she said was high in those acids).
So, I’ve tried to cut back lately. Maybe 5 cans a week, then 3, then just one occasionally.
Do you drink diet drinks? What are your unhealthy food and drink habits? 🙂