Everywhere you look, folks are chugging diet pop. Diet soda is full of flavor, energy in the form of caffeine, and hydration – all for free, calorie-wise. But there are important reasons why you should try to get over your diet pop addiction.
- Bone Loss
Diet soda contains phosphoric acid, which is what helps it maintain those zippy little bubbles. Unfortunately, phosphoric acid also causes your body to excrete calcium from your bloodstream at a faster-than-normal rate. Your body, trying to keep your bloodstream calcium level constant, then leeches calcium from your bones to compensate. That daily diet pop fix may be contributing to osteoporosis or its forerunner, osteopenia.
- Tooth Enamel Damage
Mr. Phosphoric acid is back as a bad guy, joined by his buddy, citric acid. These two acids interfere with the pH balance in your mouth and eat away at your tooth enamel. Enamel is a tooth’s best defense against decay (read “cavities”), so it’s something you’d like to keep strong.
My dental hygienist recently commented that she was seeing many teens coming in with cavities. A common thread seemed to be their pop consumption. It’s true that diet pop avoids the sugar that erodes teeth, but most diet soda still contains phosphoric acid, citric acid, or both. Check your favorite’s ingredients to be sure: dark colas are more likely than light-colored drinks to contain phosphoric acid.
- Obesity Risk
I can hear you asking, “How can a zero-calorie drink lead to obesity?” Yet it’s true: a 2015 study found that those who drank more than two diet pops daily had a 57.1% risk of obesity. Theories on why this is true vary. Some researchers feel that drinking diet pop leads to the mentality that you can “spend” more calories on other foods.
Another theory is that the sweet taste of diet drinks tricks your body into thinking high calorie foods are on the way. When they don’t arrive, your body ramps up your appetite in search of fulfillment.
- Kidney Damage
A 2019 study provides the most recent negative against diet pop – it appears to cause damage to kidney functioning. The study found the drinking two or more diet sodas daily led to significant reductions in the kidneys’ ability to filter blood effectively. These findings held even when other factors were taken into consideration, such as participants’ health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
If these health reasons aren’t enough to convince you to give up your diet soda habit, consider the financial and environmental costs. Even on sale, a 12-pack of pop costs around $4. If you drink 2 cans daily, that’s $4.60 per week, over $18 per month, and $239 per year. Can’t you think of something you’d rather spend that money on?
Likewise, all those cans are building up in landfills. It’s so much healthier for your body and for the planet to drink plain tap water or to brew some tea.
That zero calorie drink has a significant cost. It’s worth trying to find an alternative.