The four letters that appear on the Coke may be a misnomer. "Diet" relays the message that the drink is good for you and conjures images of a lower number on the scale. There is some evidence that drinking Diet Coke may actually be counterproductive to your weight loss efforts. A heavy daily Diet Coke habit could also lead to other problems.
Diet Coke and Weight Gain
A study published in a 2008 issue of "Obesity" found that subjects who consumed artificially sweetened beverages like Diet Coke had higher BMIs when compared to nonusers. When people drank more than 21 beverages per week, their risk of overweight and obesity doubled. Although the link between artificial sweeteners and weight gain was unclear at time of publication, one hypothesis was that the taste of the sweetener confuses the brain when it comes to calories and energy. Another hypothesis is that if you drink a diet beverage, you're more likely to treat yourself with unhealthy foods.
Drinking Diet Coke on a daily basis could lead to a caffeine addiction. Caffeine, the substance in Diet Coke that makes you feel alert and sometimes jittery, can be highly addictive. A person who is addicted to caffeine will exhibit classic withdrawal symptoms when caffeine is not available, such as headache, nausea, depression, lethargy and vomiting. Although the risks associated with caffeine addiction are mild compared to other drugs, cutting out Diet Coke can help you feel better in the long run because your body no longer needs caffeine to function, according to Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
You can quit by slowly decreasing the number of Diet Cokes you have in a day. If you usually have three, switch to two for a few days until you feel comfortable with switching to only one per day. As you wean your body from the need for caffeine, it will be easier to withstand withdrawal symptoms.
The best alternative to Diet Coke is plain water. Water hydrates your body while being a true zero-calorie beverage. If water is too bland for you, avoid sweetener packets which likely use artificial sweetener to flavor the water. Instead, add a squeeze of lemon or lime to flavor your water. If you simply must have caffeine in the morning, try drinking green tea, which can have appetite-suppressant benefits.