I love me some diet soda. My beloved diet soda drinks seem refreshing to me just about any time of the day. Before I became a coffee drinker, I would drink diet soda in the mornings! There’s so many different opinions on diet soda and the use of artificial sweetener, all of which seem to be backed up with evidence. Just recently, Coca-Cola came out with an aspartame ad defending the use of the artificial sweetner. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of information in today’s big data world, it’s hard to know what to believe and when to take something seriously. When there are mixed reviews on products, I normally find myself somewhere in the middle of all the polar opinions out there. Diet soda is no different. I specifically remember learning in my Exercise Science at the University of Kansas that diet soda and their artificial sweetners, when consumed in small amounts (one to two cans a day), are much healthier for you than consuming the ‘empty’ calories in regular soda. In order for diet soda to have negative health effects on you, you must consume much more than your average, everyday diet-soda drinker does. When you hear about people consuming 12 liters of diet soda a day, that’s when you should be worried. When consumed in high amounts, there are serious health concerns with diet soda. However, when consumed in small amounts (one-two cans per day), diet soda is a much healthier choice than regular soda. On the other hand, regardless of the type and amount of soda you prefer, soda actually dehydrates you. The ever so refreshing drink actually does the opposite to your body. For everyone one sip of soda, it takes twice the amount of water for you to rehydrate. That means for every one can of soda you drink, you need to drink the equivalent of two cans of water to put back in what you took out of your body. Whenever I’m out to dinner and order some good ol’ diet soda, I always remember to order a glass of ice water too. Lately, I’ve been getting better about having a water bottle next to my desk throughout the day. Most people do not tend to consume the recommended eight to 10 ounces of water per day, so people often tend to feel dehydrated. When you add some diet soda to this mix….yikes! Side effects of dehydration can range from mild to life-threatening and include symptoms such as dry mouth, fatigue, headache, hunger, low blood pressure and decreased urine output. Diet soda, when consumed in small amounts (one to two cans per day) and with plenty of water (10 ounces a day), is not something to worry about. Dehydration on the other hand, is not something to take lightly. Moral of the story – keep everything in proportion. A little diet soda and a lot of water can goes a long way!