So you’ve decided to give up diet soda? Whether it was the long list of ingredients or the fact that you’ve heard one too many times that it’s simply not good for you, great idea. No matter your reason, getting rid of diet soda will have a big impact on your overall health and body.
Research on diet soda is still pretty new, but there’s enough out there to identify some of the positive changes you can look forward to once you stop drinking it.
Headaches from diet soda withdrawal aren’t uncommon. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself thinking clearer than you have in a while. That’s because the chemicals that make up the artificial sweetener aspartame may have altered your brain chemicals, nerve signals and your brain’s reward system, which can lead to headaches, anxiety and insomnia.
More sensitive taste buds
Once you stop drinking diet soda, you may find that your food has more flavor. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda overwhelm your taste buds with sweetness—aspartame is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Splenda is a whopping 600 times sweeter.
Positive weight loss
Most people start drinking diet soda to help lose weight. But you might lose more weight giving it up. A recent study found that older adults who drank diet soda continued to pack on belly fat. Research also found that each daily diet soda increases your chance of becoming obese in the next decade by 65%. Another study found that drinking diet soda daily was associated with metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides) that can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Giving up diet soda can be one of the best ways to improve bone strength and reduce your risk of bone fractures. A study in 2014 found that each daily diet soda increased the chance of hip fracture by 14% for postmenopausal women, and another report found that older women who drank diet soda had lower bone mineral density in their hips.
A new attitude toward food
Since diet sodas have zero calories, research has found that people who drink them feel it’s okay to indulge in other places. This means making poor food choices, such as eating a burger and fries, a piece of cake or a bag of potato chips, because they feel they can afford to splurge. Plus, many of us accompany unhealthy foods with soda. If you stop drinking diet soda, you’re more likely to curb the junk food.
A better handle on your alcohol
Here’s a surprising fact: diet soda gets you drunk faster. When mixed with alcohol, your stomach empties out faster than with regular soda causing a drastic increase in blood alcohol concentrations. The healthier option for a mixer is club soda, which is naturally sugar-and calorie-free.
Decreased risk for diabetes
A study in Diabetes Care found that drinking two-thirds of a diet soda before eating primed the pancreas to release a lot of fat-storing hormone insulin. When the pancreas is overworked from creating insulin to control blood-sugar levels, diabetes rears its head.
Improved kidney function
Without that long list of unpronounceable ingredients in your body, your kidneys can get back to clearing toxins, stabilizing blood pressure and absorbing minerals.