12 Things That Happen to Your Body if You Stop Drinking Diet Soda

A glass here or there won’t hurt you, but habitual intake of diet soda can affect your health. Curb your intake and potentially experience these benefits.

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With your mouth ...

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Diet soda may wear at your teeth, potentially causing cavities: When Australian researchers exposed extracted cavity-free molars to regular soda or diet soda, they saw erosion in both scenarios. This may be due to the soda’s acidic content—phosphoric acid is a common cola ingredient, whereas citric acid is a component of Sprite and other lemon- and lime-flavored sodas. Try these tips for healthy, white teeth.

With your menstrual cycle...

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If you’re a young girl (or the mother of one), take note: Intake of caffeinated and artificially sweetened drinks is associated with the start of menstruation before age 11. Researchers at Columbia University, University of Minnesota, and George Washington University determined this after following 9- and 10-year-olds until they were college-aged.

With your pregnancy...

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Women who drank one or more diet sodas daily were significantly more likely to deliver preterm babies, per a preliminary Danish study. There was no link between regular soda intake and preterm birth.

With your metabolic health...

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People who had at least one soda a day were at greater risk for metabolic syndrome, in an observational study in the journal Nurtients. Metabolic syndrome is the presence of several conditions (including high fasting blood sugar, blood pressure, and a large waistline) that increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. These are the best and worst drinks for diabetes.

With your baby's nutrition ...

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When breast milk samples from 20 volunteers were analyzed, the non-nutritive sweeteners saccharin (an ingredient in Tab), sucralose (Splenda; present in Diet Coke with Splenda and Diet Mountain Dew), and acesulfame potassium (aceK; in Diet Pepsi) were found in 65 percent of the samples, according to a study in the Journal of Toxicology and Human Health. Aspartame wasn’t found, as it may break down before it enters the bloodstream (and breast milk).

With your appetite ...

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One experimental study in Appetite shows that people who drank Sprite Zero were almost three times more likely to select candy over gum or water, versus subjects who sipped regular soda or mineral water. More research is needed to understand why. Note that many studies linking diet soda and weight gain are based on correlation research (which shows a connection, but not a cause and effect). Here are other ways to train your brain to hate junk food.

With your alcohol tolerance ...

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Mixing diet soda and alcohol can get you drunker—which can be dangerous if you’ve timed your later-in-the-evening driving based on “just one drink.” These are other weird reasons you got more drunk than you thought. Volunteers were given vodka mixed with soda, diet soda, or a placebo drink, in a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. People drinking the diet soda combo had significantly higher breath alcohol concentrations, although they didn’t perceive much of a difference.

With your heart health ...

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Postmenopausal women who have two or more diet beverages daily were more likely to have heart troubles—including coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, a heart attack, or cardiovascular death, found researchers in Iowa. However, these women were more likely to be overweight, smoke, and have diabetes or high blood pressure—so it’s not clear if the soda or the unhealthy lifestyle (or both) led to illness.

With your chemical exposure ...

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Although some diet soda can count toward your daily hydration goal, so do plain old H20, seltzer, and antioxidant-rich tea.

With your cancer risk ...

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Sugar helps prevent spoilage, so it makes sense that soda without sugar requires a mold inhibitor. Enter potassium benzoate and sodium benzoate, ingredients often added to diet soda. Benzene, a carcinogen, can form from these preservatives—although the amount of benzene in soda is lower than the amount identified as hazardous. These are 30 simple ways lower your cancer risk.

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