Why I'm quitting diet soda for heart health month

In my house, we grew up drinking soda all day long. It's probably one of the reasons that I became an overweight teen and, ultimately, an obese adult before finally losing the weight. When I started losing weight in college, the first switch I made was going for diet drinks instead of regular sodas. I didn't want to consume all of my calories in liquid form.

Although I try to stay away these days, I still frequently have one or two diet sodas a day. But a new study by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, as reported by the Huffington Post, says that drinking diet soda every day is linked with a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. As someone who often has a diet soda with my arroz con pollo lunch, this is definitely something I'm concerned about.

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It's already a problem that being Latina is a risk factor for heart disease, since our culture's love of fried and greasy foods tends to be a marker for future problems with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. Those issues can all lead to heart disease so, between my occasional indulgence in my favorite foods and my diet soda habit, I could be putting myself in real danger.

So what's a girl to do? I'm a big believer in moderation, so I know I can't give up diet sodas forever. But I can take the small step and give them up for Februray, which just so happens to be Heart Health Month. With heart disease being the number one killer of women, it's definitely a step that I feel good in taking.

It's not going to be easy, but starting now I plan to eat more superfoods and check out some of the American Heart Association's Go Red resources for women. I know that there's a lot more we could be doing for our heart health, like eating a balanced breakfast and exercising more. But it all starts with one step at a time.

What are you doing to better your heart during Heart Health Month? Could you give up drinking soda?

Image via niallkennedy/flickr

Topics: diseases  latino health  overweight  weight loss  womens health