One of the biggest culprits of malnutrition is diet soda. With attention-grabbing promises like “zero-calorie” and “sugar-free,” diet sodas certainly speak the language of healthy foods. But take a look closer and you’ll notice the meaning of those words becomes less genuine.


Diet sodas aren’t the health-conscious, dream-come-true beverages they claim to be. Even worse, they often trade in their lack of calories and sugar for chemicals that can wreak havoc on the body.


The abcs of diet soda


So what’s so bad about diet soda? There isn’t just one problem. In looking at the packaging, an alphabet of questionable ingredients and chemicals start to jump out, the most common being:


• Aspartame

• BPA (or bisphenol A)

• Caramel color


The ramifications of each of these ingredients have long been studied, with each found to cause or contribute to serious health concerns.


The truth about Aspartame


The most popular member of this clique is aspartame, which has been targeted as an ingredient to avoid. It is used in many diet sodas, including all the big name brands. Since it’s roughly 200 times sweeter than sugar, aspartame isn’t needed in high concentrations to sweeten foods and beverages, which results in fewer calories. Studies have noted the dangers of ingesting aspartame, which include:



Memory loss



Regular headaches

Mood swings


The truth about BPA


Most people have been exposed to BPA in their lifetimes. BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical commonly used in making plastics. That includes reusable water bottles, soup cans, and—you guessed it—soda cans and bottles.


The truth about caramel color


The truth is: There’s nothing delicious or appetizing about caramel color. While it may sound familiar, it actually has nothing in common with the sweet candy that shares its name. Caramel color is in fact artificial food coloring—and one that may be carcinogenic since it involves heating sugar together with ammonium compounds. Inside caramel color is a chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), which acts like a carcinogen. In a Consumer Reports study, researchers found more than 29 micrograms of 4-Mel in 12-ounce samples of Pepsi and Malta Goya.


Caramel color is also on the list of ingredients to avoid, which in essence should be easy to do since it’s just food coloring, used to darken baked goods, gravies, sodas, and beer to make them look more appealing. Though, many mass-market products still include it.


Give up Soda with naturally flavored seltzer water


Making a pseudo-soda at home could also help break the chains of diet soda addiction. Instead of buying flavored waters, which still contain sugar and other artificial sweeteners, try concocting some delicious recipes straight from the fridge.


Start with plain bottled seltzer water, and then add slices of seasonal fruits or vegetables. That’s it! Whether it’s limes, lemons, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, cucumber, rosemary, or mint, these flavorful options will add natural sweetness and taste to plain water. All the fizzy carbonation will still be there, just without the harsh chemicals found in soda./