Skip The Regular Soda
The excess sugar in regular soda tacks on extra calories but does little to actually fill you up and doesn’t add any nutrition to your diet, so is not a great choice to help you drop pounds. Plus, high intakes of added sugars are linked with high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, risk factors for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting all sugars to no more than about 6 teaspoons a day if you’re a woman, no more than 9 teaspoons if you’re a man. A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons of sugar-which translates to about 130 calories. So while one soda every now and again won’t make or break your diet, if you drink it more regularly these calories can add up to weight gain.
Week One: The Cravings Are Real
Is there anything better than a crisp, sweet can of Coke Zero when you’re feeling, well, somewhat delicate after a night of celebrations? There would be no comforting my sore head on New Years’ Day with a fizzy drink this year. Surprisingly, I survived.
It wasn’t until January 2 that my first real craving hit, and it was only when I saw a colleague drinking Diet Coke. I suddenly had an overwhelming desire for that sweet, fizzy nectar.
I considered buying some sparkling flavored water on my lunch break to fill the void inside me, but I figured I was trying to save money as much as anything else, so resisted.
And that attitude lasted all of one day.
Exhausted from a bad’s night sleep, on January 3 I was craving, well, everything, so naturally I went to buy sustenance. When perusing soft drink options in Boots, I happened upon Fanta Grape Zero. Fanta Grape Zero! How had I never tried such a delectable-sounding libation? I wanted it so badly, but it would have been breaking the rules.
Instead, I bought a Vit Hit, which are low-calorie drinks made from vitamins, juice, water, and tea. They are, by all accounts, delicious, and no doubt healthier than a diet soda. However, they do still contain artificial sweeteners, and at £1.90 for a 500ml bottle, they’re more expensive than your average soda, too.
So much for saving money.
I Was Powerless Over Diet Coke
After almost 40 years as a diet-soda addict, my body suddenly started to reject my favorite feel-good companion.
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After I discovered Diet Coke in 1982, I drank at least three to four 12-ounce cans nearly every day for the next four decades, no matter where in the world I was.
I was the person who avoided certain airlines because they only served Pepsi. Who bought out an entire stores inventory in New Delhi because she feared she might not encounter another soda in the rest of the country. Who stashed cans in her room when she visited her parents, like an 18-year-old with a bong, except she was in her 40s.
At various times I tried to stop, but I could never deprive myself for longer than a week. As a non-coffee drinker, it was my morning beverage. Kombucha, La Croix, Zevia? Nothing satisfied my cravings. And lets be clear: Caffeine-free soda is pointless.
In late June, after polishing off my second can of the day, pains shot across my stomach, and that was my last soda. Just like that, I was done, after 39 years. Why did it take so long? Was I truly physically dependent, or was it simply a bad habit?
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Why You Should Avoid Drinking Natural Flavors
- Each natural flavor may contain up to 100 ingredients, including synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol, the preservative BHA, and GMO-derived ingredients .
- The ingredients in natural flavors are considered proprietary and not disclosed either on the label or to a customer who inquires so you have no clue what is in them.
- Natural flavors can be derived from anything in nature, including animal parts. The only difference between natural and artificial flavors, is that natural flavors are derived from things found in nature .
- They can also legally contain naturally occurring glutamate by-products that act like MSG, which is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins make food irresistible to eat but can cause stroke, Alzheimers Disease, Parkinsons Disease, obesity, migraines, fatigue, and depression.
- Flavors are designed to have addictive qualities and increase food cravings, contributing to what David Kessler calls a food carnival in your mouth. They trick your mind into wanting more and more. The Big Food Companies are hijacking your taste buds one by one, and lining their corporate pockets at the same time as we buy more products with these addicting synthesized flavors in them. If you are having increased food cravings while guzzling down drinks full of natural flavors, you may want to take a closer look at what you are drinking.
The Sweet Tooth Hypothesis
Katz agrees that the research linking diet sodas to weight gain is scant and inconclusive. But he’s still concerned that artificial sweeteners condition people to want to eat more sweet foods.
We refer to a sweet tooth, not a sugar tooth, Katz says. I think that is absolutely right. Our taste buds dont really differentiate between sweet in sugar and sweet from, say, aspartame. The evidence that this sweet taste is addictive is pretty clear.
His theoretical concerns are bolstered by 20 years of real-world experience with his patients.
What I have seen in my patients is that those who drink diet soda are more vulnerable to stealth sugars, Katz says.
Katz says stealth sugars are those added to processed foods that dont taste sweet, such as crackers, breads, and pasta sauce. They usually come in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
Although some commercial pasta sauces contain no added sugars, others contain more than ice cream toppings, Katz says.
The question is, who prefers marinara sauce with all that high-fructose corn syrup? Katz says. The answer is, a person with a sweet tooth.
In their research review, Popkin and Mattes concede that use of no-calorie sweeteners probably does promote a preference for sweeter-tasting foods. But they conclude that it’s not clear whether that affects weight gain — and they say calorie-free sweeteners could help people control their weight, if used instead of higher-calorie sweeteners.
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Week Three: Traveling Poses An Extra Challenge
In the middle of January, I went to Finland for a week, and I realized I usually drink a lot of Diet Coke both on travel days and when abroad. Honestly, I missed it.
For starters, European Diet Coke is actually my favourite of all diet cola variants . I was sad not to be able to enjoy it.
On the flip-side, I had fun Finnish drinks to try, like flavored vitamin waters and something called a Kane’s Ruby Hill Thrill which was a delicious fizzy strawberry drink.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure if it should be classed as a diet soda, but I figured if I didn’t really know what it was, it was allowed.
Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Diet Soda
I used to be a diet soda addict. In college, instead of displaying empty beer bottles like the guys down the hall, my roommates and I proudly showcased empty bottles of diet soda. We were obsessed, and the more I drank, the more I wanted it. Fortunately, after college I traded the late nights and diet soda at breakfast for eight hours of sleep and more water.
Even now that I’m working, and home with two young children, I have more energy than I did in college, and I know it’s because I’m taking care of myself. Here are just a few of the changes you could experience when you put the diet soda down.
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The Companies Fund The Ilsi Europe Institute A Food And Drink Industry
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Scientific research claiming that diet drinks could be better than water at helping people lose weight was funded by an industry body which includes Coca-Cola and PepsiCo among its members, it has emerged.
The study highlighting the benefits of diet drinks, led by Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at Bristol University, was published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Theyre Also Loaded With Health
Sodium Polyphosphate and Sodium Hexametaphosphate: These preservatives are full of phosphorous, which can create a mineral imbalance in the body. When you eat phosphate additives like these often it can put you at risk for kidney damage, increased mortality, heart disease, and accelerated aging.
Calcium Disodium EDTA: This preservative is made from of formaldehyde, sodium cyanide, and ethylene diamine yikes! Is this something you really want to drink every day? It has the ability to build up in the body, becoming more toxic if you drink it for several days in a row, which could possibly lead to health problems. Its also known to lower your bodys ability to absorb vitamins .
Citric Acid: Although this is naturally found in lemon and other fruits, the additive used in these drinks is typically derived from mold made with GMO corn . Frequent consumption is linked to an increase in tooth decay and also can irritate the gut.
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There Is A Link Between Drinking Diet Coke Every Day And Depression
Depression is a major issue not just for Americans, but people the world over. Some 322 million people around the world suffer from depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Unfortunately for those who drink Diet Coke every day, the beverage has been associated with the mood disorder.
As Lisa Young, an internationally-recognized nutritionist, wrote in an article for HuffPost, studies have “found an association between the two soda drinkers were more likely to be diagnosed with depression.” That isn’t to say that diet soda causes depression, she explained, but there is a correlation.
According to a 2014 study published in PLOS One, “Frequent consumption of sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, may increase depression risk among older adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk.” That said, you may want to consider switching out your daily Diet Coke for a cup of coffee.
The Rules Of The Challenge Had To Be Clear
When setting out my challenge, it was hard to know where to draw the line. Obviously no diet cola of any kind, but I knew that if I only cut out those drinks I would simply transfer to other sugar-free sodas like Diet 7Up or Diet Dr Pepper, which rather defeats the point.
I decided sodas of all kinds would be out, but other flavored soft drinks were allowed.
Opting to take on my challenge in January also made it extra difficult because I was doing Dry January when I’ve given up booze before, Diet Coke has been my go-to drink when out for dinner or having drinks with friends because even though it’s not a G& T, it’s more interesting than water.
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Diy Homemade Flavored Diet Soda
0 calorie diet sodas, that are full of flavor, mixed at home! We are making raspberry cream diet soda, Coconut Lime Diet soda, and Cherry Diet Soda
With simply club soda and zero calorie skinny syrups, you would have zero calories, 0 g carbs, 0 g fat, and 0 g protein. However, adding some fruit or whipped cream is going to add up to 15-25 calories to your drink. Still a calorie bargain for dieters!
The Research Part : The Observational Studies
Another study often cited in the news stories and blog postings followed people in San Antonio, Texas and showed that those who drank more diet sodas gained more weight over time.
Researchers analyzed data from the San Antonio Heart Study, which followed more than 5,000 adults for between seven and eight years.
Although people who drank both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas gained weight, diet soda drinkers were more likely to become obese. And the more diet sodas the participants drank the greater their weight gain.
The Framingham analysis included 9,000 middle-aged men and women followed for four years. Researchers found that compared to people who didnt drink sodas at all, those who drank both sugar-sweetened and diet soda were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome — a cluster of symptoms often linked to obesity that increase risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Because both of these studies were observational, it is impossible to say if the diet sodas played a direct role in the weight gain.
It may be that people switch to diet soda when they begin gaining weight without addressing other aspects of their diet that are causing the weight gain.
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Drinking Diet Coke Every Day Can Cause Hypertension
Though high blood pressure, or hypertension as it is also known, may be common over 100 million Americans suffer from hypertension, according to the American Heart Association that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. As the Mayo Clinic explained, “High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.” As if that weren’t scary enough, drinking a Diet Coke every day may actually cause high blood pressure.
A 2016 study from the Department of Food and Nutrition at Kyung Hee University in South Korea found that “high SSB and ASB consumption is associated with an increased risk of hypertension.” Additional studies have also found that drinking artificially-sweetened beverages such as Diet Coke can lead to hypertension.
You’ll Have More Energy
More energy was the biggest change I noticed once I cut out the diet soda. I noticed that not only was it easier to get out of bed in the morning, but I also wasn’t hitting that 4pm slump every afternoon.
“Drinking too much caffeine can make you dehydrated, and it can overstimulate the nervous system, making you fatigued and exhausted,” Smith told Eat This Not That. “I find that when people cut back on caffeine they have more energy because the caffeine causes very big highs and lows.”
This change surprised me, because I had been drinking diet soda to get more energy every afternoon! However, even though it has caffeine to perk you up, the other ingredients are only wearing you down. “There is way more energy for our bodies in real food than in processed foods,” Smith explained. “When people cut back on processed items, they often look for more fresh foods and make better choices. By giving up soda, it may seem like you’re making one change, but it can actually change a couple aspects of your diet for the better.”
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Soda Diet Soda And The Metabolic Syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is what researchers have named the increased risk of diabetes and heart disease from a combination of factors that include:
- increased abdominal fat
- high triglycerides
The metabolic syndrome has been linked to drinking soda.
Two formal studies done by and blank showed that those who drank diet soda had a 35% increased chance of developing metabolic syndrome. Researchers believe the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually confuses the body into believing it is consuming sugar.
Another theory is that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda lead to cravings for more sweet foods. So even though you cut some calories by drinking diet soda, cravings for sugary and processed foods increase, which results in consuming even more calories in the long run.
If You Drink Diet Coke Every Day While Pregnant You May Go Into Labor Early
There are seemingly a million restrictions when it comes to what pregnant women should eat and drink as well as what they shouldn’t eat and drink. While a soda or coffee here or there is not likely to be harmful, drinking diet soda while you’re pregnant could actually cause you to go into early labor.
Preterm labor is associated with a number of risks. According to Stanford Children’s Health, premature babies may have trouble breathing, kidney problems, and seizures. While it may seem almost unbelievable that a beverage could cause preterm labor, more than one study has uncovered a link between diet soda consumption and early labor.
One, from the Centre for Fetal Programming at the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark concluded there was “an association between intake of artificially sweetened carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks and an increased risk of preterm delivery.” Another, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Institute of Clinical Sciences in Sweden found that “a high intake of both AS and SS beverages is associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery.” So, if you’re pregnant, drop that Diet Coke.
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‘big Mac And Diet Coke’ Mentality
It may also be that people with very poor diets disproportionately drink diet sodas.
Popkin calls this the Big Mac and Diet Coke mentality.
Especially in America, we have a lot of people who eat high-fat, high-sugar diets, but also drink diet sodas, he says.
Sharon Fowler, MPH, who led the San Antonio study, acknowledges this, but she also thinks something else is going on.
“I am not convinced these sweeteners are as safe as they should be, given their widespread use, says Fowler, a faculty associate in the division of clinical epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. I am concerned that we are in the middle of a giant experiment and we dont know the outcome.