Which is Worse: Diet Soda or Regular Soda?

Screen shot 2015-11-20 at 10.45.57 AMYou’re craving the sweet fizzy flavor of your favorite brand of soda, and even though you’re on a diet, you decide this is one urge that you just can’t beat. After all, you’ll only get the diet version, so it’s barely even a cheat, right?

Wrong. Although diet soda may seem like a slimmer-waist choice in the moment, studies show that diet soda leads to more long-term weight gain, particularly among regular consumers.

You might enjoy your diet drink, but your body isn’t fooled – if it’s not real sugar, you’ll still be craving sweets when you hit the bottom of your bubbly beverage. You might even feel like you can splurge later since you saved calories by choosing diet. Studies have also shown that diet soda consumption can interfere with our bodies’ natural glucose levels, making it harder for us to recognize when we’re hungry and when we’re full, leading to more calorie consumption down the road.

Beyond dieting, artificially sweetened sodas have been shown to carry many of the same negative side effects as regular soda, such as increasing risk for heart attack and stroke. In fact, a University of Miami study found a 48 percent greater risk of heart attack and stroke among diet soda drinkers than among those who abstained from soda altogether. That’s a 28 percent greater risk than other studies have found among full-calorie soda drinkers!

So when faced with the choice of diet or regular, make two choices: first, decide to make moderation your goal and consume no more than one or two sodas a week; then, go full flavor and full calorie with the classic, unaltered version. Since all soda is an indulgence, it’s better to always treat and enjoy it as such.

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