I used to drink a liter of diet soda every day. My love for Diet Mountain Dew was unparalleled. I drank it constantly, especially at college, where there are soda machines everywhere and when you buy a drink with a meal you can refill it – again and again and again.
Diet soda has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I was a chubby child, and when the doctor told my mom I had to cut back on sweets, regular soda was the first thing to go and, diet soda was in. Even after I lost the weight, diet soda had become a regular visitor in our house.
It was the perfect invention. Zero calories and, I could drink as much as I wanted without any sugar, fat, or carbs. When I started getting into caffeinated sodas like Diet Mountain Dew, diet soda became my go-to drink. It gave me energy and, I downed multiple cans and bottles a day.
Then, in January of last year, I saw a movie called Food, Inc. For those of you that don’t know, Food, Inc. is a documentary discussing the modern food industry and the consequences of modern production processes (I really recommend it to anyone interested in nutrition). After watching it, I was taken aback.
Never in my life had I thought about what was in the food I was eating. I never thought what had to be done to make a 100 calorie ice cream bar versus the 300 calorie full-fat version. But most importantly, for the first time I wondered what exactly was in that diet soda I was drinking so much of.
What I found is that diet soda has a lot of chemicals. Plain and simple. It’s not good for you, no matter what way you spin it.
I decided to stop drinking diet soda in January 2013 and, I gave up all drinks that included artificial sweeteners, stopped adding artificial sweeteners (like my beloved Splenda) to my foods and drinks, and gave up sugar-free mints and gum.
The first week that I stopped drinking diet soda, I had headaches. I was tired. The caffeine withdrawal was pretty bad, and I craved the bubbly concoction that I had spent my entire life drinking, but I persisted.
Today, It has been seven months since my last diet soda, and I have to say it was worth it.
I can’t even explain how much sweeter food tastes now. The first time I bit into a strawberry this summer, I was shocked at how much different it tasted. I used to cut up strawberries and add Splenda to make them sweeter, but now fruit is so sweet to me on it’s own that it’s like eating a dessert.
I was afraid that when I gave up diet soda, I would gain weight without being able to drink my calorie-free staple. However, it didn’t happen. If anything, giving up diet soda has eliminated a lot of the bloat from the carbonation and funky chemicals.
I wish I could say that I have totally abandoned aspartame and other artificial sweeteners from my life, but that has yet to be a reality yet. Summer always brings Skinny Cow ice cream, and even though the ingredient list gives me the creeps, I am not ready to part with them until after this summer ends.
And, I still indulge in a mocha light frappuccino every few weeks. However, having given up my only real source of caffeine (Diet Mountain Dew), now the caffeine from a Starbucks drink gives me so much energy, I bounce off the walls like a five year old at a birthday party and later, I crash hard.
I won’t lie and say giving diet soda is easy. There isn’t a day that goes by that I see a Diet Mountain Dew and, I just want to give up everything and have a bottle, but I know it won’t be the same as I remember it.
In June, I accidentally took a swig of Propel (sugar-free flavored water), which I used to drink all the time, and I almost had to spit it out because it tasted so bad to me. I was shocked that a few months could have changed my taste buds so quickly.
I am not writing this to tell you to give up diet soda. My choice was entirely my own, and I wouldn’t force that on anyone, but I am writing this for the people who have ever thought about or wanted to give up diet soda. It can be done.
I’ll say again that I was a diet soda addict for 10 plus years. I drank it everyday. I had headaches when I didn’t get a fix. I spent so much money buying it, and giving it up was one of the best decisions I have made.
Now, who is going to help me with my makeup addiction?
Are you a diet soda drinker?