A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society of 749 adults age 65 or older showed that those who consumed diet soda daily over a 10-year period had double the gains in waist circumference than those who did not.

If daily soda is bad for you after age 65, my guess would be that it would be bad for you after age 50, too.

Increased belly fat and an increased waistline can be linked to many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, to name a few.

We think that when we switch from regular soda to diet soda we are doing a good thing by cutting out all those calories. Think again. Just because it’s calorie-free doesn’t mean it’s a healthy alternative.

In diet sodas as well as regular sodas, there are ingredients such as phosphoric acid and caffeine. Doesn’t phosphoric acid sound appetizing?

You may already know that phosphoric acid is great at removing rust. But since we do not typically harbor rust inside our bodies, let’s talk about what phosphoric acid really does when we consume it.

It can be responsible for removing calcium from our bones. That is the last thing we need, right? Especially for women over a certain age.

We also know that consuming excess caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption, so those two together can provide a double whammy for our bones.

Hopefully, everyone knows by now that we need to strength-train to make our bones stronger. But what if you eliminate sodas from your diet and strength train, too? We may certainly cut our risk for osteoporosis and unnecessary bone breaks as we age.

Many experts believe that if you are drinking a lot of soda, then you probably are not drinking milk or juices that may be fortified with calcium.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, there are seven super foods you can eat or drink that are rich in calcium: yogurt, milk, romano or Swiss cheese, tofu, spinach, broccoli, and orange juice fortified with calcium.

Try substituting some of the sodas you drink with milk or OJ.

Recommended calcium intake for women over 50 can differ, but should be around 1,200 milligrams per day. Other factors play into these numbers, such as estrogen loss.

For men over 50, recommended calcium intake is around 1,000 milligrams per day.

The $70 billion U.S. soda industry will not miss you if you decide to go cold turkey. We can still buy soda, but now we should use it to remove blood stains from fabrics or clean the terminals on our car batteries.

Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and manager of the Oxford YMCA. And she’s over 50. "Fitness over 50" is published the third Sunday of each month.