Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

Diet soda has become a staple in the American meal. There are virtually no calories in diet soft-drinks, so we can have as much as we want, right? Well, according to many current published studies, not so fast.

Diet soda seems to be one factor in the obesity epidemic and in the development of diabetes. Wait, you say — it's chocolate cake, pizza, and even bread…but don't take away my diet soda!

Studies have postulated several mechanisms for the increased risk of diabetes from consumption of diet soda. One ingredient in some diet soda, aspartame, has been shown to be metabolized in a way that potentially causes insulin production to increase too much. Aspartame is a protein derived from phenylalanine and aspartic acid, two proteins that when combined, taste sweet. It is also theorized that because diet soda tastes so sweet, it changes our cravings, making us actually want to eat things that taste sweet. Therefore, consuming more diet soda would prompt us to consume more calories, and not healthy calories. I myself have always thought I tend to eat more food if I have soda as a beverage. If I drink water at a meal, for example, I do tend to eat less. Try it and see for yourself!

Another reason to avoid soda would be that soda is acidic in nature and generally not great for the stomach, especially if you suffer from reflux. Let's not forget that diet cola and other drinks can have a considerable amount of caffeine, which can raise blood pressure and cause sleep disturbances.