Ask people who drink diet soda and they will probably answer one or all of the reasons below for why they drink them. We asked someone who happened to tweet about going out for a Diet Coke:
- They like soda but do not want the added sugar.
- They are recommended in all diets (for losing weight).
These reasons sound valid but consider the following:
Sugar is a substance that you body knows and can get rid of. Whatever is used to sweeten sugar-free drinks is chemical-based and may do more harm than sugar because it is foreign to your body.
Here are responses to the three reasons listed above:
- Do you really "like" soda or are you addicted to it? Recent research has indicated that many unhealthy foods trigger similar effects in your brain as does cocaine and heroine.1 What you may interpret as necessary and something you like can in fact be the same exact way a drug addict justifies using more drugs (please note that cocaine and heroin are considered hard drugs).
- A lot of nutritionists, dietitians, and doctors recommend diet sodas to their patients. The idea is that a lower intake of sugar will lower the patients' weight gain. There is no evidence that this is so. In fact, research indicates that diet soda INCREASES your appetite.2 Seems to completely contradict the purpose of getting on a diet (we won't even get into how awful these short term weight-loss diets are for you).
- Lastly, diet soda for diabetics. Makes sense, right? Less sugar, better management of blood glucose levels, right? This morning when we read a retweet by @AnnChildersMD that said diet soda is now linked to metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes. The article, which is on the National Health Institute's news health website3 says "A new study has implicated meat, fried food and, surprisingly, diet soda in the development of metabolic syndrome." We looked for the actual study and found one that dates back to April of 2009. They concluded that "consumption of diet soda at least daily was associated with significantly greater risks of select incident metabolic syndrome components and type 2 diabetes."
If you like drinking soda, analyze the reason why you like it. Stop drinking it for a month and see if you crave it. This is the only way you will know if you are in complete control. If you at any point in time miss it, be careful because you may only THINK you like it. The body is amazing that way.
Why do health professionals suggest drinking diet soda for weight loss? Simple. They are misinformed. This is a fairly new study and most practicing professionals graduated before 2009 and probably have never sat down to catch up on new discoveries in the health field. Stop drinking soda for a month and see if your appetite decreases.
Diabetics... It is time you stop drinking (and eating) what you like, and you start drinking (and eating) what you have to. There is no simple way to sugar coat that message. That's it. You need to stop and take control. Here's an analogy that might help. Would you put diet soda (or regular soda) in your car's gas tank? I think you answered "no". Why? Your car doesn't run on soda! It's almost ridiculous to have to explain that one, right? Guess what... Your body doesn't run on soda either. Do you care more about your car than you do your body?
Stop drinking sodas altogether. There are plenty of alternatives. What ever happened to homemade lemon aide (real, you squeeze lemons add the water and brown sugar)? What about this quick and easy (2 minute) delicious strawberry and blueberry drink: http://twitpic.com/1exyle?
Start taking care of you as much as you take care of your car.
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 Junk Food 'Addiction' May Be Real
 People who drink diet soft drinks don't lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows
 NIH News in Health
 PubMed :: Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)