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Regular or Diet Soda? What's Your Choice?

By Rachel Carver

Americans love soda. Some like Coke and others always have Pepsi. But there is a strong diet versus regular soda debate.

All of us want to do what's best for our health. So which one should we choose?

Differences Between Regular and Diet Soda

Regular soda is usually made out of carbonated water and sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or sucrose. Dark sodas contain phosphoric acid. And all of them come with caffeine (usually) and some natural flavors mixed in.

Diet sodas are very similar, accept they contain sugar substitutes. These sugar substitutes include:

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia

Reduced-calorie soda combines the diet and regular options. A combination of sucrose and a sugar substitute is used to save some calories from regular sweeteners.

Diet Soda Benefits

If you ask your doctor, you will probably not be told to start drinking diet soda. However, if you drink several sodas each day, diet soda can give you another option if you are not ready to ditch the habit. Diet soda:

  • Reduces calories which can help with weight loss
  • Decreases sugar intake
  • Improves blood sugar control

Diet Soda Cons

  • Offers no nutritional value and can cause you to miss out on other important vitamins and minerals such as calcium found in low-fat milk
  • Makes some think they can indulge in other high-calorie items, which can lead to weight gain
  • May cause some children to be underweight and miss out on important nutrients found in other drinks

Which One Should I Drink?

Selecting your soda of choice depends on several factors, including:

  • Taste preference
  • How often you drink soda
  • Current body weight
  • Other things you eat and drink
  • Sugar consumption

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. If you regularly drink soda, diet might be your best option. If you enjoy the occasional soda, regular would work for you.  Just remember you should not use diet soda to save calories. This approach can backfire, as diet soda can sometimes leave you craving sweets and other high-calorie foods.

Healthier Alternatives

Diet and regular soda offer little to no nutritional value. If you are ready to move away from soda but still want a carbonated beverage, there are some options to try.

Carbonated water comes in a variety of flavors and gives you very few calories, depending on the one you consume. Kombucha is a fermented tea filled with probiotics. Grocery stores have this tea with less sugar. Watermelon water is a great post-workout option because it gives you high amounts of potassium and citrulline.

You do not have to completely eliminate soda. For either soda variety, moderation is a good approach.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Machesney Park, Ill.

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