While diet soda isn’t something I feel completely reliant on every day, it is something I consider a treat on a near-daily basis. I started drinking diet sodas back in high school when counting calories was a large part of my life and anything with 0 calories got a yes from me. All diet sodas are created equal for me and I like to rotate which ones I’m drinking so I always have a bit of variety, but lately I’ve been trying to cut back, and as of very recently, I cut it out completely.
I know there are a whole host of issues with diet soda (which as a Midwesterner I will always call “pop,” even though people in New York still give me funny looks when I call it anything but soda), but come on, it tastes so good! However, as much as I love drinking it, the positive results from kicking the habit to the curb most definitely outweigh the taste. Aside from feeling like my skin is more vibrant and having a few extra bucks in my wallet from not buying sodas, I saw some larger, more significant changes in my life.
No more bloat
Bloating has sadly always been an issue for me, ever since I was young. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to target how and why it happens, but any dietary changes that lessen it are A-OK with me. I didn’t notice the decrease in bloating from the lack of diet soda until I slipped one day and cracked open a can. After finishing it, I was left with the intense bloating I had become so accustomed to that I didn’t even realize hadn’t happened for a few weeks while I was diet soda-free.
The carbonation in any soda, diet or regular, can lead to serious bloating and stomach upset because of the gas bubbles. Some people can burp those gas bubbles back out pretty quickly, which will provide some relief. But whether it’s a good thing or bad, I cannot and do not burp. At all. So all that pent-up gas from the soda ends up manifesting as stomach bloat.
I drink way more water
This probably seems obvious, but once I cut out diet soda, I reached for water any time I was thirsty. I’m someone who always drinks a lot of fluids and never struggled to meet my daily water intake goals, but a little piece of my fluid intake every day had been a can of soda. After swapping that for an extra glass of water, I was not only meeting my water goals but crushing them every day.
It was pretty inevitable that on days I drank a diet soda, I would end up with a headache later in the day. I get headaches when I don’t drink enough water, and I’m convinced that even though I was still drinking enough water in addition to my soda, the soda somehow counteracted the water and thus gave me a water-related headache. In reality, it’s more likely that the sweetener in diet soda caused the headaches. Yes, I still get them, because I get headaches from everything, but the soda-induced ones that I knew I could count on are gone.
My teeth feel better
OK, this may be weird and all in my head, but every time I drank a diet soda, my teeth and gums felt a bit weird and fuzzy. I always felt like I needed to brush them right away, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (yay, dental health), but it’s not a pleasant feeling in your mouth. I’m chalking this one up, again, to the sweeteners in the diet sodas. You know what doesn’t make my teeth feel weird? Water.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim