Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is diet soda really healthy?


Very recently I made the decision to denounce diet drinks altogether. I love diet Coke because the idea that a drink could be tasty yet have 0 calories and sugar seemed like a healthy alternative to sugar laden soft drinks. Aside from apple juice I don’t care for many fruit juices, and when water gets a bit boring I turn to diet pop.

Like many people I too have heard the controversy about the aspartame in diet soda being harmful to your body, but I never really paid attention to it. One day while drinking a diet soda it dawned on me; why is the ingredient aspartame on my soda can always made to stand out in larger letters, like a warning? It said “aspartame contains phenylalanine.” When I researched what this substance was I read that it could be linked to many health issues, but it was still unclear whether or not it posed a serious threat because of its approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The information available on the health risks of consuming diet soda is surrounded by much debate. Some say that the research to support the risks is inconclusive while others disagree.

Some of the health risks associated with consuming diet soda include:
*Weight gain
*Increased risk of belly fat and heart disease
*Artificial sweeteners may alter the body’s ability to regulate calories and trick the body into thinking the substance is sugar
*Contains a substance knows to irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes
*Erosion of tooth enamel
*Reproductive issues
*Headaches & migraines
*Increased risk of cancer

Because the debate and research on the risks seem to be unclear I have decided to make my own judgments. What I do believe is that right now there are ingredients and components going into our food that we are unaware of and that may be engineered and unhealthy. Mass production of food means that corners may be cut and that scientists have to find new ways to keep up with consumer demand. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, meaning that it is not a natural sugar but rather created as a sugar substitute with zero calories, and it may be beneficial to avoid artificial additives whenever possible. I also took into consideration that with the increase risks of metabolic diseases and the rise of obesity, diet and low calorie foods are a big business, so regulations regarding these substances may be slack.

If aspartame is recognized by my body as a foreign substance which is hard to break down, or my body thinks it is getting sugar and causes weight gain then it is pointless having it in my diet. At least with sugar my body recognizes it and knows how to use and process it unlike aspartame which is artificial. 

Considering that there is so much controversy over its health risks I decided to be safe and try to cut down by not drinking diet soda. There may be aspartame in other substances I am not aware of but I have to start somewhere. It will be interesting to see if cutting out diet soda has any beneficial side effects on my overall health.

Am I sad to see it go? Yes, because as I said I like diet Coke, so now I am going to have to come up with healthier more natural alternatives. Wish me luck because the more of that stuff I drank the more I craved.


What do you think about diet pop? Do you drink it?

Disclaimer: I am not reporting that cola, diet coke or aspartame is bad for your health. I am sharing inconclusive findings that are available online. I am expressing my own thoughts and feelings on artificial sweeteners. I do not dislike Coke, its manufacturer or its products, I actually find them quite enjoyable. My reasons for removing coke and artificial sweeteners from my diet is based on my own health initiatives and personal concerns. I am not promoting or encouraging anyone to do the same. It is your responsibility to follow whatever dietary plan works for you.

Sources: 

19 comments:

  1. Great post hun. Sadly it doesn't stop at soda. So many of the food we eat contains harmful chemicals. If you don't go organic the regular vegetation are sprayed with pesticides that also pose a health risk. I stopped drinking soda all together when i became pregnant, I still haven't drank any yet. Soda is indeed yummy but very bad for you. Any drink that contains high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup is bad for you. It can be frustrating because most drinks have these ingredients. I am thinking investing in a juicer. Thanks for this post! :) I am pretty sure u can kick the diet soda. Good luck hun

    www.muslimahluvsmakeup.blogspot.com

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    1. I know, it seems that no matter where you buy your food and what you buy it is not safe. Today I saw that there was a recall on a particular brand of yogurt which was making people sick because it had a harmful bacteria in it! And who can forget the ecoli issues with the spinach a while back. Not only that but every time you eat out it is a risk to your health because many restaurants don't wash the produce and many employees don't practice proper hygiene. It's scary when you sit down and think about it.

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  2. Awesome post! I don't touch the stuff. The only soda I drink is ginger ale and that's when I have tummy problems.

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    1. I love Ginger ale! But good for you!

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I don't drink soda anymore. All I drink is water and tea most days. I've read about aspartame before, and once I saw a person at the grocery store buy a box of it. I was in a bit of shock - really wondered how much people read about the stuff.

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    1. Yikes! a box! well I drink a lot of water, I even get my water from a special water store where they go through extra steps to purify it using a process called reverse osmosis. I don't like most tea to be honest especially herbal teas but I do like Chi tea or Kashmiri tea which is a Pakistani tea. I tend to go for the teas that are a bit sweet and milky lol.

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  4. I was drinking 2-4 diet cokes a day but quit last Monday. It hasn't been easy and I haven't noticed any changes yet but I'm going to keep at it and see how it goes.

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    1. Good for you! I know what you mean, I had a craving for a diet pop yesterday and I decided to drink water. It can be hard when you don't care for many juices I especially hate juice that is from concentrate like orange juice yuck! I do not mind fresh fruit smoothies though and there are some fresh juices you can buy in the stores that are 100% natural. I actually like carrot juice but don't care for cooked carrots.

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  5. I am glad you made a decision for yourself dear, I stopped drinking diet soda long time ago and I don´t miss it all. From time to time the body craves for specific things and you have to give it to the body, otherwise there can be an jojo effect. I barely eat junk food or stuff like at all and my body has changed immensely, I swear on my fruit smoothies now :-)

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    1. Good for you! I don't eat much fast food, Pizza is my weak spot but I don't like burgers, hot dogs and fried foods. I usually go to a nice restaurant when want to eat out.

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  6. I agree but now a days it seems like everything we eat or drink is bad for us. I drink soda but I drink caffeine free ones not that I believe that it doesn't have any in it I'm sure it still does

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    1. Caffeine free is still better than the aspartame which is artificial. Soda once in a while is okay but my issue was that I thought diet coke was healthier than drinking sugar. At least sugar is more natural and your body knows what to do with it unlike aspartame.

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  7. i do not drink diet anything. i don't really even drink soda. i'll save it for special occasions when i eat out, or if i'm out having drinks (love jack + cokes!)...but i stopped about six years ago when i was pregnant.

    someone we work with had trouble with his eye/eyesight. we can't be sure it was aspartame, but he was a heavy diet coke drinker. it took a couple years, he couldn't drive...but he stopped drinking diet and it got better.

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    1. WOW, well there are a lot of claims that diet soda has caused very serious health issues so its a good idea not to take the chance.

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  8. Great post! I have learnt a lot! I definitely need to cut down!

    a-n-n-a-182.blogspot.com

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  9. I don't drink soda, I used to drink a lot of Coke, but about two years ago I decided to stop. I drink a lot of water, maybe a glass of juice once in a while, recently I've tasted soda again (Fanta), but nothing is as good as water, I'm not going baack to soda, ever! :D

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  11. I fully admit, I am a Coca Cola addict. However I can't drink diet anything because my body thinks it's a poison and rejects it. I am getting better about not drinking so much coke anymore. I drink more sweet tea now.

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