Diet soda is the go to drink for weight conscious people who want to feel better about drinking a glass of soda. But it’s not as good for you as it leads on. We’ve found these health effects from Prevention that will happen to you as soon as you finally stop drinking those diet sodas. You’re body will basically thank you for it!
Whatever the reason, eliminating diet soda from your diet will improve your health from head to toe. Research on diet soda is still in its infancy, but there’s enough out there to identify what you can look forward to when you put down the can and cool down with an unsweetened iced tea instead.
Migraines disappear and focus sharpens.
It turns out the headaches you expected from a diet soda withdrawal didn’t materialize. And now that you’ve quit the stuff, you probably find yourself thinking clearly for the first time in a while. That’s because the chemicals that make up the artificial sweetener aspartame may have altered brain chemicals, nerve signals, and the brain’s reward system, which leads to headaches, anxiety, and insomnia, according to a review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And a 2013 animal study found that rats that drank diet soda had damaged cells and nerve endings in the cerebellum—the part of the brain responsible for motor skills.
Taste buds are more sensitive.
It’s not your imagination: Without your usual diet soda chaser, you may find that food has more flavor. It has subtlety. It’s more enjoyable. That’s because the artificial sweeteners in your diet soda overwhelmed your taste buds with an onslaught of sweetness. Aspartame ranks 200 hundreds times sweeter than table sugar. Splenda? 600 times. In fact, brain scans show that diet soda alters sweet receptors in the brain and prolongs sugar cravings rather than satisfies them. “We often see patients change snack choices when they give up diet soda,” says Heather Bainbridge, RD, from Columbia University Medical Center Weight Control Center. “Rather than needing sugary treats or something really salty like pretzels and chips, they reach for an apple and a piece of cheese. And, when they try diet soda again, they find it intolerably sweet.”
Your attitude towards food changes.
Since diet sodas have no calories, people drinking them often feel it’s okay to indulge elsewhere, finds Bainbridge. Often she sees her diet soda-drinking patients make poor food choices, like a burger and fries, a piece of cake, or potato chips, because they think they can afford those extra calories. Plus, soda often accompanies unhealthy foods. “Sometimes those poor choices are built up habits,” she says. “You’re conditioned to have soda with chips, fries, or something sweet. When you eliminate the soft drink, you also break the junk food habit.”
Want to know other ways your body will thank you for not drinking diet soda? Check out the complete list from Prevention.
Featured image source: Phera Laster