Friday, November 11, 2011

Diet Soda Myths

What is it about diet soda that seems so naughty? Maybe it’s because enjoying something without any calories leads people to feel like they’re going to have to pay one way or another-if not with their waistline now, then with ambiguous bad health later (a tumor? osteoporosis?).

Diet Coke has 46.5mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can, and a Diet Pepsi has 36. (A seven-ounce cup of coffee, by comparison, has anywhere from 85 to 135mg of caffeine.) “For most people, up to 300mg a day of caffeine seems to be safe,” says nutritionist Elisa Zied, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of So What Can I Eat? (Wiley 2007) She does say that certain medications and heart conditions may make that much caffeine a bad idea, so check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure.

Legend has it that the lethal hantavirus spreads to humans when they drink soda contaminated by the droppings of warehouse rats or mice. True, humans can catch the hantavirus from rodent waste, but there are no known cases of a person getting it from unclean Diet Coke cans (or any food packaging). Still, it's a good idea to wipe icky stuff off the top before popping it.

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