Diet Coke: Is It Really Safe for You?
Food often becomes the focal point when it comes to discussing a diabetes diet, but the beverages you drink could be affecting your weight and blood glucose in ways that you are not aware of.
Although diet soda can be a good low-sugar alternative to regular soda, the amount you consume could be hurting you just as much as drinking full-sugar soda.
Diet Soda and Cardiovascular Disease
Current diabetes research indicates that consuming diet soda on a daily basis could put you at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. According to data presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in 2011, a study involving 2,564 participants found that those who drank diet soda every day were 48 percent more likely to have a stroke or other vascular incident than those who didn’t drink it at all.
Dr. Hannah Gardener, a researcher at the University of Miami, explained that more studies are needed to show what exactly about diet soda is putting people at risk of cardiovascular disease. Although diet soda may not contain sugar, it does contain sodium, phosphate, and usually caffeine, which can also be harmful for a diabetic's diet.
High phosphate levels can have a negative effect on your bone mineral content. Sodium and caffeine can cause dehydration, making you more thirsty, and could start you on a vicious cycle with diet soda.
Diet Soda and Weight Gain
Furthermore, research seems to confirm that there is a significant correlation between drinking diet sodas and weight gain. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care presented possible reason as to why this connection occurs.
The first is that diet soda may increase the desire and then consumption of “sugar-sweetened, energy-dense beverages/foods,” suggesting that the body reacts by craving more food. The second reason they offered was that drinking these beverages may disrupt the ability to estimate how much food is actually needed.
Yet some experts point out that many of the people who drink a lot of diet soda are already overweight and are therefore already at risk for hypertension, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Breaking Your Soda Addiction
Unfortunately, unlike cigarettes, there’s no diet-soda patch. But there are measures you can take to stop your diet soda addiction:
- Stop cold turkey or taper down slowly? When making this decision, make sure to pick the method that fits best with your personality.
- Replace diet soda with a different beverage. Try switching to water. If plain water just doesn't work for you, try using flavored water packets or squeeze some lemon in your drink. If you’re craving the bubbly feeling of soda, try substituting your diet drink with mineral water, which can give you the feeling that you’re drinking something more.
- Be ready for withdrawal. If you’re drinking diet soda for the caffeine, you may have to brace yourself for the headaches that will follow when you stop drinking soda. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen will help to calm those headaches, and going to bed early can also help.