Diet sodas are every dieter's friend, aren’t they? To be able to drink a virtually calorie-free beverage with some flavor to it has gotten many dieter through a weight-loss program. However, many people are concerned about possible risks of diets sodas, including cancer risks, caffeine overload and tooth discoloration. Those who want to detox from diet sodas have plenty to consider, including the best way to do so.
Diet Soda Ingredients
Most diet sodas are made with water, an artificial sweetener (such as aspartame), artificial colors and flavors, carbonation and phosphoric acid (which helps keep the soda from going flat).. Most varieties also contain caffeine. These are intended to provide similar flavors to the full-calorie versions of the same sodas.
However, many people are concerned that aspartame has been linked to cancer, although this has been disputed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute.
In addition, there are concerns that the phosphoric acid leaches calcium from teeth and bones and wears away stomach lining and tooth enamel, gradually leading to tooth decay and bone loss. Diet colas also discolor teeth.
Ironically, a study by Purdue University seems to indicate that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners found in soda can actually promote weight gain
Going "Cold Turkey"
Because of the high caffeine content of most diet sodas, it is generally considered best to cut back diet soda intake over time, rather than suddenly cutting them out all together. "Going cold turkey" can result in caffeine withdrawal headaches that can be debilitating. Sudden withdrawal from caffeine can also lead to lethargy, depression and extreme sleepiness. While these symptoms dissipate over the first week, they can be difficult to deal with.
It is generally considered better to gradually decrease the use of diet sodas. One method is to drink one glass of water for every glass of soda at first, then increase to two glasses of water for every glass of soda etc.
Another method is to first measure how many ounces of diet soda you drink each day, then commit to cut back slowly. For example, if you drink four 12-oz cans each day, try drinking three daily for one week. When that feels comfortable, cut back to two etc., until you are no longer drinking
If you crave something flavorful but low calorie to drink, try experimenting with mixes of club soda and fruit juice. You'll have flavor and carbonation but without the artificial sweeteners and caffeine.
Another trick is to use sugar-free breath mints in order to have something in your mouth. Or, take a minute to brush your teeth: Your mouth will feel so good you won't want the taste of soda syrup.
If the caffeine withdrawal headache is really troublesome, take one buffered aspirin (which contains caffeine, but not as much as in soda) to ease the pain. The caffeine withdrawal symptoms should subside in about a week.
As with any other addiction, it is common when trying to kick a diet soda to "backslide" and go back to drinking it, even months after you've given them up. An occasional indulgence should not cause any harm, but don't let it derail your efforts. If you find you have resumed your habit, it's okay to start again.