Step away from those bubbling bottles and carbonated cans of supposedly diet-friendly zero-calorie soda. Among the dangers: Diet soda messes up your metabolism, boosts your risk for diabetes and heart disease and even doubles your risk for metabolic syndrome, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz's and his colleague Dr. Mike Roizen's recent column.
"Evidence from human studies shows that artificially sweetened drinks are associated with weight gain in adults and teens, and raise risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Some data even suggest that these zero-calorie sips could double the risk for metabolic syndrome, a huge risk factor for diabetes and heart disease," says Dr. Oz.
"Other recent reports show consumption is linked to higher rates of depression. And in one study, people who drank diet sodas had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference over a few years compared to those who skipped soft drinks."
So for those of us who are addicted to diet sodas, is there hope? Well, sort of. The Catch-22: You need to be willing to swap out that artificially sweetened stuff for other options.
Here are some substitutes that work:
- Unsweetened water, either still waters such as Acqua Panna or bubbly like S.Pellegrino. A personal favorite for this option: TalkingRain Sparkling Essence (click for details).
- Brew up extra strong herbal tea, cool and serve with ice cubes. A personal favorite for this option: Celestial Seasonings Herb Tea, Cinnamon Apple Spice (click for details)
- Water with a dash of unsweetened fruit juice
- Decaf flavored coffee, brewed extra strong, cooled and served with ice cubes. A personal favorite for this option: Baronet Coffee Pods Chocolate Babka.