I’ve been drinking diet soda for years, but I’ve been hearing that I should give it up. Is diet soda bad for you?

By N/A for Life & Beauty Weekly

We reach for diet soda instead of regular soft drinks to cut down on sugar and calories, but the artificial sweetener found in diet drinks have been the subject of controversy for decades.

Claims have been made linking different types of artificial sweetener to everything from headaches to body aches, an increase in belly fat and even cancer. While some argue that most of the research tests the artificial sweeteners in far larger quantities than the average person would normally consume, there may be enough research to warrant limiting diet soda intake. Better still, take it off the menu and replace it with good-for-you beverages like water and tea. If you find plain water too bland, try adding a squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice.

Another reason to cut back: Diet soda may actually make you gain weight! Some research suggests that artificial sweetener may increase your cravings for sweet things.

Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames (AKA “The Nutrition Twins”) are registered dietitians whose third book on nutrition, The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty, will be out in January 2014.

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