Answered by on Monday, June 1, 2009
It's not possible to be truly addicted to diet drinks in any real sense of the word. "There's nothing in diet soda that could cause that kind of reaction," explains Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. So why do you feel as if you need a fix? Bonci says that has to do with the intense sweetness—we like the taste so much we begin to crave it. But it's not a good idea to quit cold turkey because of the strong psychological pull you have toward diet drinks. And water is definitely not an equal substitute in terms of either sweetness or flavor. Bonci recommends switching instead to a low-calorie drink that's sweet without the fizz, such as Crystal Light, or to something fizzy without the sweetness, like seltzer. That way, you won't miss all the things about diet sodas that bring you enjoyment. She also suggests cutting back slowly: If you typically drink diet soda four times a day, start by cutting back to three servings and substitute for one. You don't have to eliminate diet drinks completely from your menu, but try to gradually reduce their importance as much as you can.