Regular vs. Diet Soda

Whether you’re at the beach, on a boat, or at a BBQ, summertime is all about sipping on sodas.  It can be hard to resist a cold, sweet, bubbly beverage on a hot day.  You’re probably already aware that soda contains a ton of sugar and that sugar can increase your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, but did you know that it can also increase your risk of heart disease, liver disease, depression, anxiety, ADHD and dementia?

“No problem, Doc, I’ll just have a diet soda!”  Not so fast.  In addition to the increased risks of bladder cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease associated with artificial sweeteners, they ALSO increase the risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Our brains cannot distinguish between sugar and artificial sweeteners, so when you taste something sweet, both your dopamine and insulin levels will increase.  Dopamine is the “pleasure chemical” in the brain which promotes habit formation and can lead to addiction.  Insulin is a hormone which decreases your blood sugar by storing it as fat, and when levels are high, your body is literally programmed for weight gain.

So, how about reaching for a cold, bubbly beverage without the sweet, such as carbonated water over ice with a spritz of fresh lemon or lime?  Once you make the decision to give up soda, you really won’t miss it, and your body and brain will thank you.

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