Alisha Adkins is an author, gamer, and zombie enthusiast. She is currently pursuing her dream of writing and quietly starving to death.
Is Diet Soda Dangerous?
Smoking or Soda: Which is Really Worse?
In 2012, I kicked two highly addictive habits: smoking and drinking Diet Coke.
Early in that year, I quit smoking cigarettes with the help of Chantix. Although obviously a positive act, I felt no immediate physiological benefits. Physically, I felt the same.
In September, I quit drinking Diet Coke. Immediately, I felt the difference. It was as if I were suddenly ten years younger. I no longer got out of breath in the course of everyday activities, and I stopped inexplicably breaking out in sweats. In my late thirties, I had had less stamina than friends and colleagues in their fifties and early sixties. Now I suddenly felt closer to my own age and less like I might keel over from a heart attack at any moment.
Don't get me wrong -- I was not a casual drinker of Diet Coke. It was my primary beverage; I drank it almost exclusively. If you cut me, I probably would have bled Diet Coke.
I should certainly have known that drinking Diet Coke to excess could not be good for me. But, in my own defense, I started out as a casual drinker. The more I drank, the more I needed to drink. I was an addict. If I dared go for more than a few hours without having a Diet Coke, I started to experience excruciating migraines. I needed the beverage in order to function.
Diet Sodas Cause Weight Gain
The cruel irony of diet sodas is that they are marketed as an aid in weight control, but their consumption actually destroys the metabolism, causing the body to become fatter.
Consumers erroneously believe that zero calories ensures no weight gain, therefore diet soft drinks ought to be a good choice if you're trying to watch your figure. Alas, this is far from the truth. Recent research indicates that aspartame confuses the body, causing it to process sugars more poorly, resulting in weight gain. In addition, diet sodas are now being linked to metabolic syndrome.
Diet Soda -- Literally Poison?
On top of all of that, when aspertame and caffeine combine in the body, they produce a state akin to a high while creating harmful toxins. So, ultimately, these drinks turn into what is literally poison when they enter the human body.
I did not realize any of this when I decided to finally kick my Diet Coke addiction. The only adverse health affect of which I was aware at that time was that soft drinks leech calcium from bones. I'm sure that, if one were to take a cross-section of one of my bones, it would look like Swiss cheese. But that wasn't why I desperately wanted to quit.
My reason for quitting my Diet Coke habit was simply that I had never met anyone who drank Diet Coke regularly who didn't look awful. I knew there was something suspicious about that, and I didn't want to be part of that demographic.
What Is Coke?
What's in this Stuff?!
The actual act of kicking Diet Coke was far from easy. The migraine came quickly and continued to escalate throughout the night. By the early hours of the morning, I was thrashing to and fro in my bed, literally moaning aloud in agony. This was interspersed between many bouts of violent vomiting. I felt as though I were dying.
I know that, in the early days, Coke contained cocaine. Of course, this "medicinal" ingredient was removed from the formula long ago. But, after going through Diet Coke withdrawal, I have to wonder: what addictive additive is currently in the product?
I had kicked caffeine in the past; it caused a headache, but not one of the same fierce intensity, and it certainly never caused me to vomit. There clearly has to be something more than just caffeine at work in Diet Coke for it to produce such extreme withdrawal effects.
When "Diet" Products Cause Weight Gain
Warning labels are required on cigarette packaging, but detrimental beverages such as Diet Coke are still able to market themselves as diet aids, as if they are actually beneficial to the consumer.
It seems unconscionable to me that companies continue to market diet sodas as weight control products when they actually destroy the metabolism. They are little better than street corner drug dealers, suckering women in, misleading them, addicting them, and poisoning their bodies.
Update: More Information
Since originally writing this article, I have watched a documentary called Hungry for Change which had some very good, relevant information on this issue. Among other things, it explains the addictive properties associated with diet soda, how its consumption actually encourages the body to become fatter, and how aspartame and caffeine combine to produce a high while creating toxins in the body.
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© 2013 Alisha Adkins
Dominique on October 04, 2015:
I used to be an avid Diet Coke drinker (at least one bottle/day). As I was exercising a lot and paying attention to what I ate, I didn't feel as if I was doing anything wrong. This changed as I started to develop a major depression and ADHD-like symptoms (forgetfulness, rigid thinking, anxiety etc.). I've replaced Diet Coke by water and green tea and within days I felt like a new-born man. Aspartame is poison and should be banned in any so-called 'democratic' country.
Giovanna from UK on September 18, 2014:
God why do people drink this stuff - it beats me!
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on July 22, 2014:
Great hub :) Another health problem you failed to mention from soda is acid reflux. This can cause even more bloating, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain and pain in the shoulders. Thank you for sharing
dearabbysmom from Indiana on February 27, 2014:
My husband was having dizziness and headaches. He quit drinking diet soda and the sugar free versions of koolaid and has not had one headache or dizziness episode since. Hmmmmm. Voted up, thanks for getting the word out.
ParadigmEnacted on June 21, 2013:
Good advice. All soft drinks are poison. Far worse than having a beer every once in a while. Yet, Coke products are even worse than all the others. A friend of mine who's a chemical expert explained to me how highly acidic Coke is on top of all the other health hazards. Can you believe that kids get hopped up on this stuff? They might as well just drink whisky!