Many people, believe it or not, are addicted to diet soda. They hoard their soda and drink up to two liters or more every day. As it turns out, most people who drink diet soda consume more than 26 ounces of soda every day and three percent of diet soda drinkers consume more than four cans per day. So what is it about diet soda that keeps people coming back for more? Some people claim
it’s the caffeine and that addicts to soda seem to crave. But what about those people who consume just as much caffeine free diet soda?
Experts say that there are things besides caffeine that seem to be at play with those who are addicted to diet soda. There is a lot of ritual around the drinking of soda and it is believed that the artificial sweeteners can psychologically and physiologically affect a soda drinker to make the substance addictive. Sodas are calorie free so that people who drink them feel that they’re not inherently bad for you.
On the other hand, caffeine is powerfully addictive; soda drinkers may just prefer soda to, say, coffee or energy drinks. There isn’t as much caffeine in soda as in coffee but soda drinkers make up for it by drinking a great deal of soda. Some soda drinkers mix coffee drinking with soda drinking in order to get a large amount of caffeine in a daily fix that winds up being more soda than coffee.
It’s believed, too, that former nicotine addicts just switch their nicotine addiction to a caffeine addiction. Switching from one addiction to another is not an uncommon phenomenon. Some people use caffeinated beverages like soda to get over a nicotine addiction in the hope that drinking caffeinated diet beverages will help them keep the weight down. Diet soda becomes associated with many life activities and the addiction to another substance begins.
Diet soda is also a socially acceptable behavior. No one looks twice at people who consume diet soda after diet soda. The bad part of the deal is that people who drink diet soda are more likely to make bad food choices—food choices that cause you to gain weight despite the fact that what you’re drinking contains no calories.
It may also be that fake sugars like aspartame don’t satisfy the person like the real thing so people keep going back for more and more in the hopes of getting more sugar. The brain can tell the difference between real sugar and aspartame or Splenda so that the effect on the brain is different. It may propagate an addiction to the diet stuff.