Why is Diet Cola so Addictive?

Credit: Unsplash
Trust me, this stuff is anything but “diet.”

I knew a guy once who would low-key stab someone if it would get him a Diet Coke. One time, he went a few days without them, and the next time I saw him, he was a twitchy, angry mess, one step from going feral. Obviously, that’s a comically extreme example, but it doesn’t change the fact that diet sodas, and especially diet colas like Diet Coke can be extremely addictive and bad for your health, despite what the big ol’ “diet” on the can may imply.

Diet Coke gets its signature synthetic sweetness from using certain kinds of artificial sweeteners in lieu of actual sugar or corn syrup. This usually includes stuff like aspartame or Splenda. Now, while these synthetic sweeteners are zero calorie, their particular kind of sweetness causes your body to produce higher quantities of insulin. More insulin in your system causes you to crave more sweet things. And what sweet thing happens to be nearby? Well, it’s another can of Diet Coke! You can see from whence the cycle begins to perpetuate here. Add in other addicting substances such as caffeine and salt, and you’ve basically got a perfect addiction cocktail.

Credit: Unsplash

Diet sodas also have a bit of a psychological thing going on, both in terms of advertising and social climate. When you go on a diet, you wanna cut sugar out, right? Well, you saw an advertisement that said Diet Coke is sugar-free, so it’s perfectly okay to drink it! Yeah, that’s a deliberate thing they do, it’s kinda lousy.

If you want to try to get off the diet soda, you’ll probably need about a week to detox. It’s gonna be awful, I won’t pretty it up for you, but you can make it a little easier by ensuring you don’t have easy access to diet soda, and opting instead for substitutes like seltzer.