Yes, we must all individually make choices for what we eat and drink. I do feel we should try to make the best ones possible for our children, though. No child should EVER consume diet soda. Aspartame is the number one reported food suppliment for causing some pretty horrific health problems.
If formaldehyde and methol alcohol in your blood stream don't worry you, read some of the most recent findings:http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/recent.html#4
(I've had a friend that could not remember the most simple of things (like loaning us a computer monitor the DAY before!!! IT was getting really bad. I found out he was drinking 2-3 diet Coke a day. I suggested he stop. He did and about a month later, he noticed his 'memory' was returning and he could function again!)
In animal studies, it has been known to cause spontaneous abortions and abnormalities. Some of the chemicals in it can cross into the brain and get 'stuck there'...to form little pockets that rot and cause 'swiss cheese' type holes. Just hope they aren't 'wiping out' a memory or area you might need later....
Among other things, it's about 10% methanol (wood alcohol,) famous for
causing blindness in alcoholics. In the body, methanol metabolizes into
formaldehyde, (YES FORMALDEHYDE
, that stuff you used in biology class in high school to preserve dead animals) a neurotoxin; formic acid, a venom in ant stings; and diketopiperazine, which causes brain tumors in animals!
It's so bad that in July of 1983, the National Soft Drink Association presented official objections to putting aspartame in beverages.
I'll read you one of their objections: "It is well established under Section 402(a)(3) that a food which contains a decomposed substance...is subject to seizure by FDA." It's thoroughly established that after a number of weeks and at temperatures over 85 degrees F, there's no aspartame left in a soft drink, only breakdown products!
Many of the people that would get this stuff banned, are now in key level, highly paid positions to keep this toxic money maker in your fav diet sodas and almost every other diet food! Do you know that aspartame is in many of the INFANT and child medicines (pain/fever reducers, like Tylenol!)???!!! Why would we want our babies to consume this!
Read this link for more details:http://www.holisticmed.com/aspartame/wright.txt
As for 'regular soda' like Cokes and Pepsi. Yes it's highly addictive. I was a 'Coke' drinker for a long time. I am tempted by the stuff if it's in the house. I have to just NOT buy it, not even for 'friends' that come over. I tell them to BYOS (Bring Your Own Sodas) and take them home after get-togethers. I offer, tea, caffeine free tea and lemonaid, coffee and 'filtered' water ONLY.
It's the Phosphoric Acid
in Soda that's the problem. It is chemically similar to calcium and it will leech out the calcium and replace it, forming a weaker bond in your bones/teeth, etc. This is what leads to weak bones and potentials for being a major contributor to an increased risk for osteoporosis.
Sugar is a known 'immunio' suppressant. Just one serving of sugar can depress your immune system for over 6 hours. It is also nutritionally devoid of anything your body or a child's body needs. We have enough problems with depleted food sources. I guess if you are making a 'one bad thing' choice, then at least try to compensate with some really super healthy foods while you are drinking it. I would still avoid ALL DIET SODA like the plague. I shiver when I see teenagers drinking it! Plus, aspartame increases your appetite and makes you crave more sugar, defeating it's purpose as a 'dietary' aid.
In the long run, it is your body, do as you wish. Just please try to make good, healthy decisions for your children, until they are old enough to figure it out for themselves! There is a TON of more bad stuff about it all, but then this would be a 'book' and not reply.Dr. Mercola has a great summary for both substances:http://www.mercola.com/2003/jul/9/soda_dangers.htm