Soda drink word cloud conceptDrinking diet soda may seem a smart way to manage calories and shrink your waist line. After all, where is the quarrel in zero calories? Researchers say there is plenty to quarrel about. It turns out that drinking diet soda is actually more harmful than helpful. Take a look at the top five reasons to ditch diet drinks.

You gain more than use lose

Researchers have found that diet soda drinkers actually weigh more than regular soda drinkers. You might assume they would weigh less, but no. Researchers surmise that a zero calorie drink may subconsciously give diet drinkers a free pass to consume more. Another theory is that diet soda prevents the satiety signal from being activated so your brain does not send the “I’m full” signal. Over time reaching for that extra slice or larger serving of fries adds up to a wider waist line.

Increased risk of diabetes

A University of Minnesota study found that diet soda drinkers are at greater risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

sugar freeAin’t nothing like the real thing, baby

The intense flavor of artificial sweetener found in diet soda actually makes it difficult to enjoy the taste of naturally sweetened foods, such as fruit.

Diet soda dials up your belly fat

Regular diet soda consumption has been associated with more belly fat. Belly fat or visceral fat is the most dangerous kind of body fat because of its strong link to poor health outcomes such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, high blood pressure and even higher rates of mortality.

Zero calories and zero nutrition

Your body needs an adequate mix of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. When you reach for a diet drink you are reaching for a chemical cocktail with no nutritional value. That choice adds up to a missed opportunity to do your body a bit of good.

Enjoy diet soda only on rare occasions. For better health outcomes, reach for water with lemon, lime or cucumber.  For variety try an infuser bottle to create interesting flavor combinations with fruit pulp and herbs such as mint. You can also enjoy seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice for a bit of fizz and the bonus of vitamin C. Low fat milk can also be a good choice for the calcium, protein and vitamin D.