I used to be a diet soda addict. In college, instead of displaying empty beer bottles like the guys down the hall, my roommates and I proudly showcased empty bottles of diet soda. We were obsessed, and the more I drank, the more I wanted it. Fortunately, after college I traded the late nights and diet soda at breakfast for eight hours of sleep and more water.
Even now that I’m working, and home with two young children, I have more energy than I did in college, and I know it’s because I’m taking care of myself. Here are just a few of the changes you could experience when you put the diet soda down.
Diet soda seems harmless, but it’s doing some damage. Not only is it affecting your internal organs, it’s actually changing your eating patterns. The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Jaclyn Jacobsen spoke with me about the many risks of drinking diet soda.
The ingredients in diet soda are associated with “decreased kidney function, fat accumulation around the waistline, and increased sugar cravings,” Jacobsen told me. “Diet soda puts you at increased risk for metabolic syndrome, which is an umbrella term for multiple conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood sugar that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.”
Once you make the commitment to give up diet soda, don’t be surprised if you feel worse before the benefits happen. Your body has been used to this foreign substance, and it is going to miss your bubbly little friend.
“The body can go through a withdrawal from both the artificial sweetener and the caffeine for a period of one week to one month, depending on how much you have consumed and for how long,” explained Jacobsen. “Symptoms include anxiety, appetite changes, mental fogginess, mild depression, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and restlessness.” Once this initial hungover feeling passes, you should start feeling better.