Monday, April 18, 2011

Ask Us Anything: Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

"I think that I have an addiction to diet soda. I drink it every day and become irritable if I am without it for a few hours. I've tried to drink water or tea, but I don't like the taste.

Are there any health concerns or side effects in consuming so much soda? Should I search for an alternative? If so, how can I cut down on my consumption?"

Registered Dietitian Jennifer Turesky Responds:

Registered Dietitian Jennifer TureskyThere are some health concerns in regards to diet soda consumption.

Research has found that drinking diet soda daily is linked to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular-related deaths. Drinking two or more diet sodas a day may increase your risk of declining kidney function.

Also, diet soda is low in important health-promoting nutrients, so keeping your consumption of diet soda a small part of your daily intake can be beneficial.

It has been found that people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In fact, over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.

If you miss the carbonation, consider trying sparkling calorie-free water as an alternative.

— Jennifer Turesky, Registered Dietitian

Jennifer provides nutrition counseling at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo and leads a 12-week LIFESTEPS© program to help adults change their eating and physical activity behaviors.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

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