Diet Soda Addiction: Canning the Can

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I love Diet Coke. To me, there's nothing better than a nice, cold fountain Diet Coke around 3 p.m. But the thing about Diet Coke is that it always leaves me wanting more. Why is that?

We throw around the term "addicted" a lot. We're addicted to Glee, Facebook and yes, we're plenty addicted to diet sodas. And while it doesn't seem troubling at first, imagine replacing that cola can with a martini glass and you'll start to realize that it's a real addiction, and a real problem. And these diet soda addicts aren't alone– government research has shown that diet soda drinkers average 2.5 cans a day.

It appears that there's something uniquely addicting about diet soda, more so than regular sodas. Some suggest that your brain can tell the difference between real sugar and aspartame (aka fake sugar) even if your taste buds can't. Real sugar leaves your reward center feeling more satisfied, while aspartame just leaves you in search of more fulfilling sugar.

This addiction comes at a price, and it's more than the hefty $4.00 you'll pay for a 12 pack. Consuming diet soda habitually is linked to a whole host of health problems, ranging from heart disease to diabetes. And ironically, it might even encourage weight gain.

It's doubtful that diet soda is more harmful than a sugared soda, but just like everything else, it must be kept in moderation. So next time you're standing helpless in front of the soda fountain, empty cup in hand, save your brain the aspartame confusion and head for the water or tea.

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