What is the difference between regular and diet soda?
The major difference between regular soda and diet soda is how they are sweetened. Diet soda is made using one or more artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium. These are called non-nutritive sweeteners because they have little-to-no calories or carbohydrates. This is why the nutrition label on a diet soda shows zero calories and zero grams of carbohydrate.
On the other hand, regular soda is usually sweetened high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup has just as many calories and carbohydrates and regular sugar, so a regular 12-once can of soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. This can add up quickly if you drink it regularly, and the extra calories could contribute to weight gain and can raise blood glucose if you have diabetes.
The only time a person with diabetes is advised to drink regular soda is when they are experiencing hypoglycemia. Read more about hypoglycemia.
Giving up soda can be a very hard thing to do, but if you have diabetes you should at least switch to diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends drinking calorie-free or very low-calorie beverages. This includes water, unsweetened teas, coffee, and diet soda.
There are other options too, such as low-calorie drinks and drink mixes which can be found in most grocery stores. You can also try flavoring your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing drink with some flavor. These drinks are all great thirst-quenchers and provide almost no calories or carbohydrates.
For more information about what to drink with diabetes, visit diabetes.org.
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