I stopped by the Post office the other day and, while I was waiting my turn in line, I was checking out the “10 Most Wanted” list.
What 10 Most Wanted list Bob?
Why, the 10 Most Wanted Dietary Criminals, of course.
And there, right on the wall with;
- Whole milk (OMG, the fat and Cholesterol!)
- Egg Yolks (Again with the Cholesterol & heart disease)
- Red Meat (Fat and cancer, not to mention those poor, adorable cows)
- And of course, the “ Al Qaeda” of ingredients, Gluten, which seems to cause just about everything including intestinal distress, infertility, halitosis, and premature baldness.
There, with all of these well known offenders, was the long time, recidivist offender I want to discuss today……
Don’t let the kids see this.
I don’t want to be responsible for the moral & physical degradation of a generation of children…
….But I digress….
I gotta start this out with a confession
I drink Diet Soda. Pepsi One to be exact. Though if I can’t get my hands on that, I’ll drink Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke or Diet Barq’s root beer if it’s all I can get my hands on. Pepsi One got me off of regular soda 20+ years ago.
Some people react quite strongly to this knowledge.
“ You know that’s the worst thing you can possibly put in your body”
“ That stuff fools your body into putting on weight”
“ There’s actually more calories in that than regular soda”
My chiropractor / naturopath spent more time trying to convince me to give up diet soda than trying to deal with my back, which is what I was actually paying her for.
So, let’s take a look at the facts.And know that I have been sincere in trying to be objective about this. I’ve tried to do my due diligence, read multiple studies and use what seems to be most plausible and most commonly accepted, regardless of my own personal opinion.
Diet soda is a mixture of carbonated water, artificial or natural sweeteners, colors, flavors, and extra components like vitamins or caffeine. Most varieties contain zero or very few calories and no significant nutrition. While the precise relationship between diet soda and medical conditions is uncertain and requires more research, it is clear that people should not see diet soda as a healthful alternative to sugary drinks.
I get this folks. I’ve never considered diet soda as health food. Really.
Diet sodas may also undermine health by changing other habits. A 2012 study suggests that diet soda may change how the brain responds to sweet flavors by affecting dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, motivation, and reward. Frequently drinking diet soda might cause a person to crave more sweets, including both sweet snacks and more soda.
To say the same thing in different words. ( and btw, this was expressed often)
Scientists have suggested that diet soda may increase appetite by stimulating hunger hormones, altering sweet taste receptors, and triggering dopamine responses in the brain
Given that diet soft drinks have no calories, these responses may cause a higher intake of sweet or calorie-dense foods, resulting in weight gain. However, evidence of this is not consistent in human studies.
So it might make me want to eat other unhealthy foods. OK.
In addition, The researchers behind a 2017 study gathered data that indicated a link between diet soda and the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved 2,888 people over the age of 45 years. The results showed that drinking one diet soda per day almost tripled a person’s risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. A 2014 study of 2,037 male Japanese factory workers found that men who drank diet soda were more likely to develop diabetes than those who did not. Many studies of people who drink soda have been extensive and spanned many years. However, few studies have fully controlled for other risk factors that might lead to chronic health issues, such as being overweight or having a sedentary lifestyle.Therefore, they may not account for the fact that people who drink soda might have more health issues independent of their beverage choices.
Also, ( and again, this was common to a number of reports and studies)
Another theory suggests that diet soda’s correlation to weight gain may be explained by people with bad dietary habits drinking more of it. The weight gain they experience may be caused by their existing dietary habits — not diet soda.
Also, I’ve been told that diet soda will give me cancer. What kind has never been explained, but cancer, dammit! But actually though early research suggested that there might be a link between artificial sweeteners and cancer, subsequent research has either found no link or called into question data that initially linked artificial sweeteners to cancer. So, while there are plenty of reasons to avoid diet soda, cancer risk may not be among them.
I’ve also had concerned citizens share with me that diet soda actually has the same or MORE calories than regular soda. Ummm….
A 12-ounce can of Diet Coke contains 125 mg of aspartame, 113 mg of which is the “protein” aspartylphenylalanine . So, that can contains 0.452 calories. This is a very small number, but it is not zero. By comparison, a 12 ounce can of Coke contains 150 calories – 335-times that found in a Diet Coke.
Math is math folks.
So, to summarize, at least according to the majority of the information I’ve been able to scrounge together;
Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, ( define that as you will), isn’t likely to hurt you. The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, It seems that there is a chance that it could cause you to want to eat other unhealthy foods, which could affect your weight, and lead to related issues and conditions such as diabetes. Other dire effects, such as Alzheimers or cancer, seem less well documented.
Is it the healthiest thing I consume? Nope. But I’m good with having some every once in a while. I’ll watch my diet , my weight, my cholesterol and my blood pressure. As I always have. If I develop an uncontrollable desire for junk food maybe I’ll look at diet cola as a root cause. But it’s been 20 years. How long does it take for that to kick in? My conclusion is that when it comes to diet soda, as with most other things in life, it’s choice you have to make for yourself. I know it’ll stay on the Most Wanted List, and people will shy away and whisper among themselves when I say that I drink it.
And eat red meat,
and eggs & dairy,
There’s a magic word I use to dispel the evil food spirits.