Okay, so diet soda doesn't have all the sugar of regular soda but it isn't exactly healthy. "Not only is there little evidence that diet drinks help people lose or maintain weight," says nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the forthcoming book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), "but there's some evidence that diet drinks cause similar metabolic problems to sugary drinks." A study out of the University of Minnesota found that just one can of diet soda a day contributed to a 34% increase in the likelihood of contraction metabolic syndrome (which includes high cholesterol and high belly fat which can lead to heart disease). "Anything with a heavy sweet taste, even if it's not technically sugar, may stimulate insulin release," explains Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of the Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction. "When it becomes excessive, you start to see a rise in insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease." Part of the problem is that your taste buds get used to the sweetness and then require more of it for the same level of satisfaction. The real issue at hand, according to Teitelbaum is that it is an addiction. "There's something driving the craving," he says. "If you don't address what's driving the craving, it won't go away." Here are ways you may be using diet soda to fill a craving and ways to avoid it. 1. Your diet soda motivation: You need energy. If you're grabbing a can when you need a pick me up, it is likely the caffeine you're after. Your diet soda detox: Try coffee or tea which are full of antioxidants. It is okay to sweeten them a little with a natural sweetener like stevia or a teaspoon of honey but don't even think of grabbing for those packets of sugar! Londa Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, recommends fruit flavoured iced teas. It will also be useful to get more sleep so you aren't dependent on caffeine to get through your day. 2. Your diet soda motivation: Your blood sugar is low. If you find yourself getting irritable, shaking or feeling overwhelmed by daily activities, it could be that you are not giving your adrenal system the support it needs. "Their job is to make more sugar during periods of stress," Teitelbaum explains. "When they get exhausted from being chronically activated, your blood sugar will drop and you won't have the hormones to manage it." Your diet soda detox: Teitelbaum suggests doing away with as many daily stressors as you can. For example, skip watching the news at breakfast to avoid starting your day in disaster mode. Avoid blood sugar dips by eating three times a day with snacking in between and spreading your protein throughout the day. He also suggests keeping snacks on hand, like nuts or fruit, to consume when you do need a blood sugar boost. 3. Your diet soda motivation: You're (unconsciously) feeding yeast in your body. If you have chronic nasal congestion, sinusitis, spastic colon, or irritable bowel syndrome, you could be heeding sugar cravings caused by yeast or candida overgrowth in your intestinal tract. Your diet soda detox: "A good probiotic and getting off sugar will kill the yeasty beasties," Teitelbaum says. Until you do that though, find an alternative that doesn't make you feel like you are being punished. Infused water is a great place to start. Raspberry lemon is my favourite. 4. Your diet soda motivation: Your hormones are in flux. If you have PMS or are perimenopausal, your hormones are all over the place. It can cause, insomnia, headaches, fatigue or mild depression and all of these can lead to sugar cravings. Your diet soda detox: Look for ways to boost your estrogen. Teitelbaum recommends following in the footsteps of the Japanese and grabbing a handful of edamame or drinking soy milk. Soy contains plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. If that isn't sweet enough for you, grab an orange, a banana, a handful of berries, or two squares of dark chocolate. It may take you up to a week to reduce the cravings depending on how well you are addressing the underlying cause. But don't fret, it is okay to indulge a little. "The bottom line is really to drink sodas of any kind in moderation," Sandon says. "By this I mean not every meal or every day. Save them for special occasions." Why do you drink diet soda? Is your motivation on the list or is it something else entirely? Do you follow us on Instagram?