Those who consume soda for this, beware!

She published an article in the New York Times in which Abby Ellin, a writer, described her “weakness” against daily diet soda over several decades. “I tried to quit on several occasions but couldn’t deny myself for more than a week,” Ellin wrote. He was only able to stop the diet when persistent abdominal pain required examination of medical diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopy, ultrasound and CT scan, all to no avail.

He spoke to clinical experts specializing in public health, psychology and nutrition to reveal what really happens when you can’t live without your favorite diet drink. Read on to learn about the hidden side effects of drinking diet soda.

Science says diet soda can be just as addictive as, or worse than, stimulants.

Ellin explains that the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not count diet soda on their list of addictive substances.

However, research suggests that the addition should probably be considered. Ellin cites a 2007 study in which lab rats were forced to choose between saccharin and cocaine, which researchers describe as “a highly addictive and harmful substance.”

Between the two, a remarkable 94 percent chose saccharin over cocaine, even if they previously showed signs of cocaine addiction. False sweetness causes cravings.

A doctor says diet sodas are sweetened with aspartame instead of saccharin, but the two artificial sweeteners may have a similar effect. Ellin got help from an expert named Pamela Peeke. Peeke, who counts nutrition and public health among her areas of expertise, explains why aspartame, which sweetens diet sodas, is largely responsible for why you’d want more: because artificial sweeteners don’t actually provide a solution.

As Ellin wrote, “Artificial sweeteners activate the brain’s reward system, but only half as much as regular sugar,” said Dr. look. Fake sugar doesn’t contain the same as real sugar, so it will leave you wanting more. Caffeine is also to blame. Ellin says the sweeteners combined with caffeine make diet soda a powerful combination for many who love it.

Some experts believe it’s time to treat diet soda like any other drug. Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and director of the school’s Food and Addiction Science and Treatment Laboratory.

According to Ellin’s report, Gearhardt said further investigation would be likely if the diet soda, or any diet soda for that matter, was a new pharmaceutical product that had undergone the proper testing protocol for its addictive effects. As Gearhardt says, “We would be very concerned.” Here’s how to find out if you need to go back on the diet.

Ellin said that aside from the stomachache that led him to give up diet soda for good, the drink began to taste to him “like what I imagined the Tide pod would take.”

Along with the physical symptoms that may indicate that your diet soda addiction has gone too far, Gearhardt identified the following symptoms as some recognizable signs of addiction:

When you lose control of a desire, when you consume, even when you know you shouldn’t. If you move away from it, it sends you through retreat.

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