When you crave something sweet, bubbly, and perhaps caffeinated but don't want the calories, it can be tempting to crack open a diet soda—but resist that urge. "Sodium and potassium benzoate are added to some diet soft drinks and fruit drinks," Leslie Bonci, R.D., says. "They can form benzene, which is a carcinogen when combined with vitamin C, the ascorbic acid in juice or soda."
In addition, research shows that there may be a link between diet cola consumption and weight gain, as well as cancer and diabetes, so if you're a diet soda junkie, try to cut back. Our five tips will help you kick the habit.
If you don't drink soda, you're not safe, though: Potassium benzoate often shows up in seemingly innocuous foods such as apple cider, low-fat salad dressings, syrups, jams, olives, and pickles, so read labels.