Kicking the Can!

Ok,...Today’s blog is for all of you out there who are still drinking diet soda (you know who your are!).  I just have this to say to you:  put that glass/can/bottle down!!
Good News... I’m going to help you kick this dangerous habit.   
Many of us use diet sodas to satisfy hunger cravings, recharge our batteries, and as an aid for weight loss. We consume diet drinks when searching for that sweet taste without the extra sugar and calories.
What you may not realize is that drinking diet soda causes us to have MORE sugar cravings and increases our caloric intake throughout the day! Yup.  We gain absolutely nothing from drinking diet soda – and that’s the good news.
The fact is, you’re actually causing harm to your body and putting yourself at risk for some serious illnesses!  Here are just a few:
Cancer:  There’s been a lot of research done on the link between artificial sweeteners and a heightened risk of cancer – obviously the concern is there, why risk drinking it?
Weight Gain:  I know what you’re thinking – how can I gain weight from drinking something with zero calories?  Well you can and you will!  Research has proven that people who drink diet soda daily are more likely to gain weight than those who don't.  We tend to crave sugar and eat more as a result from the intake of artificial sweeteners.
Diabetes:  In one study, drinking diet soda daily was associated with a 67% greater risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.  Plus, diet soda drinkers have a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which includes elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol, and an increased waistline!  Who wants that?
Heart disease:  OK, so if cancer, weight gain, and diabetes aren’t enough to make you kick that can, than maybe this will:  there was a study done that followed 2,500 New Yorkers who drank diet soda every day and these people had a 61% higher risk of a stroke or a heart attack than those who did not drink diet soda.
Ask yourself:  Why do I drink diet soda?  Is it to give me that caffeine boost?  Maybe I like those fizzy bubbles?   Understanding why it's a staple in your diet can assist in helping you find ways to decrease your intake by replacing it with healthier choices.
If you’re looking to cut back or cut it out altogether, below are some of my favorite healthy alternatives.  It may be tough in the beginning, but if you stick it out, your taste buds will adjust and you’ll start seeing (and feeling!) the benefits from eliminating these chemicals from your body:

Flavor-infused all natural seltzer or sparkling water:  a great substitute.  When purchasing just be sure the only ingredients are carbonated water and natural flavor.
Fancy H2O:  try adding wedges of lemon, lime, a slice of orange or pineapple, or a sprig or two of mint – yum! 
Sparkling water:  throw in a splash of your favorite 100% fruit juice and you’ve got a soda that’s refreshing and healthy!
Brewed iced tea:  replace the caffeine in your Diet Coke with a healthier option like green tea, black tea, or coffee.  If you need to add sweetness, go the natural route and try small amounts of raw sugar or honey.
Finally this:  don’t rush the process!  Cut back on your consumption of diet soda slowly by reducing intake a small amount each day.  Start to incorporate some of these healthier alternatives and your body will thank you. 
Ditching diet sodas can be the gateway to adding more healthy habits into your life as well,  so next time you reach for that diet soda… reach past it to the healthier choice!
Let me know how you are doing.  I would love to hear from you.