We already know that sugar-packed soda can be a recipe for health disaster — but in 2011, some disturbing news came out about its calorie-free counterpart. Two studies presented this past summer suggest that diet soda may be associated with a wider waist in humans, and that aspartame (the artificial flavor that makes the drink sweet) raises blood sugar in mice prone to diabetes, The Huffington Post reported
when the findings were released.
So why not skip the whole thing for 2012? To kick the habit, first identify what it is that draws you to a diet soda. If it’s the caffeine, consider replacing it with unsweetened iced tea, coffee or green tea, says HuffPost blogger Cheryl Forberg, R.D., nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” If the fizz is the draw, find a sweet replacement with a naturally carbonated water, like Pellegrino, mixed with just a splash of juice. Of course, water is your best bet — if you can’t stand it plain, add just enough juice to change the color along with an orange or a lime.
Like a diet, depriving yourself completely of something you love can lead to overindulging later, Forberg warns. If diet soda is something you can’t do without, she suggests limiting it to a once a week treat or cutting down on the overall number you drink.