When I was in my twenties, I like many women, would drink diet soda. I thought I was making the “healthier choice” because diet soft drinks have zero calories, zero carbs and zero sugar. They were my go-to option when I was craving something icy cold or carbonated. Back then, before I knew better, I thought a diet soda here and there wouldn’t hurt. This was before I learned about the dangerous health effects of artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

One day, after I started dating my husband, I ordered a diet soda and he said, “Don’t you know that’s really bad for you?” I didn’t know! I thought it was harmless to order diet soda instead of the sugar-filled regular version. That’s when he introduced me to all the research about artificial sweeteners and how having diet soda even “once in a while” was BAD for my health.

I’m not going to lie; diet sodas are addicting and I enjoyed them here and there, but after making the switch to healthy beverages, I kicked the craving and I don’t even desire them anymore. I was able to replace a bad habit with a good one – hurray! And, it just so happens that there are very good reasons to cut artificial sweeteners out of your diet for good, and they are backed by scientific research.

In order to enjoy optimum health, you have to stay away from the disease-causing ingredients found in everyday foods and beverages, including anything “artificial,” such as artificial colors, flavors and... sweeteners. You know sugary drinks are bad, but diet sodas are even worse!

Artificial Sweeteners: Bad for Weight Loss & Health!

Think diet soda helps you lose weight? Think again! Here’s a little data backing that up: “The epidemiological studies looking at the association between people who consume diet soda and weight and those who don’t consume it typically show that consuming is associate with higher rates of obesity and higher rates of other metabolic complications,” Allison Sylvetsky Meni, Ph.D, assistant professor at the Milken Institute of Public Health at The George Town University, told SELF.

What we consume today will definitely affect our health years down the road. What you put in your body can either cause disease or it can fight it! If you want to start eating clean and reducing the risk of disease, check out my blog, “How to Start a Clean Eating Lifestyle.”

Now, let’s take a look at the ill health effects of artificial sweeteners: Researchers from Boston University discovered that consuming artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with “an increased risk of ischemic stroke, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.”

The data came from the Framingham Heart Study, A Project of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Boston University. This particular study entitled, “Sugar-and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia,” was conducted on 2,888 participants age 45 and older and 1,484 age 60 and older from Framingham, Massachusetts.

The research found that adults who drink one or more diet sodas a day nearly TRIPLED THEIR RISK of stroke and dementia, compared to those who drank no diet soda. However, the study did not find any link between sugar-sweetened drinks and stroke and dementia.

“As the consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks is increasing in the community along with the prevalence of stroke and dementia, future research is needed to replicate our findings and to investigate the mechanisms underlying the reported associations,” said Mathew P. Pase, PhD, a senior research fellow in the Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the Framingham Heart Study.

So, what are 3X-approved alternatives to diet soda? If you get tired of water, coffee and tea, I recommend Kombucha, beverages sweetened with Stevia, such as Zevia® and flavored seltzer water. Kombucha especially, is a naturally carbonated beverage, that can improve your digestive health.

I hope you enjoyed this article about the dangers of drinking diet soda. If you’d like to read more of my posts about weight loss and health, check out my 3X Weight Loss blog!

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