Taste of Health Francesca Ballicu | one year ago

What’s the Real Deal with Diet Soda? Ask a Doc!

Soda has its drawbacks, but is diet soda really that bad for you and your family?

Ask a Doc!

What’s the Real Deal with Diet Soda?

Q: “I drink diet soda every day. Is it that bad for me or my family?” A: From Timothy Kennard, MD, Indian Trail Family Medicine, Carolinas HealthCare System “Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day – such as a can or two – isn't likely to hurt you. The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there's no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer. But, diet soda certainly isn't a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss. “Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may save you calories in the short term, it's not yet clear if it's effective for preventing obesity and related health problems. Healthier low-calorie choices are easily accessible and should be kept on hand as alternatives. If you offer your family water, skim milk and unsweetened tea, they will soon stop asking for soda!”

Hydration Hype

So you’re slowly luring your family (and yourself) away from soda – diet or regular. Here are a few easy, fun strategies to move you even farther along the healthy hydration highway:
  • Buy inexpensive, reusable water bottles for each family member. Using a permanent marker, ID each one with a name and then take some time one rainy day to decorate the bottles. Before jumping in the car for errands or even long trips, have everyone grab their water bottle and fill it up with fresh, cold water.
  • Keep a lidded container of sliced citrus fruit – limes, lemons, oranges – in the fridge. Encourage everyone in the family to grab a section of fruit to squeeze into water at dinner or when they’re filling their decorated water bottle.
  • If you and your family are hooked on sugary sweet iced tea, wean yourself off of it a little at a time. Pour yourself half sweet and half unsweetened. And, don’t be shy to ask for the same when you dine out. Gradually, your taste buds will adjust to the reduced sugar and you may be drinking unsweetened iced tea before you know it.
  • Ordering water at restaurants not only saves calories and prevents cavities, it saves money. Encourage your kids to calculate how much the family saves when you’re sitting at your favorite diner. Consider putting that money into a family piggy bank when you get home. Over time, you could use the savings to spend some quality time together or go out to a movie.
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