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The Dirty Details on Diet Soda: Friend or Foe?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Once upon a time, diet soda was the recommendation for a healthy alternative to traditional soda. It was thought that because it had less sugar, it had to be a healthier alternative. Everyone drank this form of soda, and because they did, they deemed themselves healthy. After a few years, researchers and health professionals began to second-guess the healthy benefits of going diet. Was it really better? Or did it bring its own set of unhealthy side effects? The information and public opinion seems to go back and forth constantly. If you’re on the fence, read on to find a few facts and information about whether or not diet drinks are really good, or an unhealthy drink in disguise.

The Big Pro

When it comes to drinking diet soda, most people claim one main benefit. It is lower calorie and lower sugar. For many, this can be very beneficial. If you’re on a calorie restricted diet, but can’t give up your favorite drink, then diet may be the way to go. Then again, if you are diabetic and need less sugar, diet may be the way to go. Other than this benefit, however, diet may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

The Cons

The first main concern with diet soda lies within the artificial sweeteners. While once thought healthy, these alternatives -- such as aspartame -- have come to light as being bad for your health overall. In fact, nowadays most doctors recommend staying far away from this sugar substitute. Another negative side effect is that it could be linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. This is particularly alarming since so many people turn to diet drinks as a safe drink for diabetics. The last negative side effect isn’t particular to diet, but rather soda in general. Soda has absolutely zero nutritional value. This is why doctors refer to soda calories as empty. You’re still using up your calorie count for the day, but you’re gaining zero benefits by doing so.

Should You Drink Diet?

The current consensus is NO. Most doctors agree that diet is no longer the way to go. If possible, get rid of sodas completely. If you’re not ready for this step, you may be better off drinking the real kind instead of the diet option. Of course, always refer to a doctor’s advice and do what works best for you and your particular health concerns. Staying healthy is the key, and only you and your health care provider know best.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mukilteo, Wash.

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