Are Diet Sodas a Healthy Alternative?

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Are Diet Sodas a Healthy Alternative?

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People today are becoming more aware than ever of things they should avoid such as white bread, sugar and Keeping up with the Kardashians.

With this comes a need to replace favorite foods with other choices that we hope are not as bad for us. One of the most common substitutes is diet drinks for their heavily sugared and high calorie alternatives.

One of the best tips I can give new clients or any person in general is to eliminate liquid calories, especially those from high fructose corn syrup laden sodas. Eliminating this form of over refined, unnatural form of sugar helps avoid the havoc it plays on the body such as skyrocketing insulin levels, increased LDL and triglyceride levels and increased obesity just to name a few.

So avoiding a high sugar drink for one without any sugar would seem to make sense. This doesn’t appear to be the case.
Since these diet sodas don’t contain any sugar the sweetness has to come from somewhere else. It comes in the form of artificial sweeteners. The most famous of these is aspartame.

Aspartame also goes by the name NutraSweet or Equal and is contained in over 4000 products. It is known to be 200 times sweeter than sucrose and was accidentally “discovered” by a chemist working on an anti-ulcer drug. The chemist named James M. Schlatter had accidentally licked his finger to turn a page with a finger that had been contaminated by aspartame and was astounded at its sweet taste.

The history of aspartames approval by the FDA is a long and sordid one. Studies sponsored by the manufacturers of aspartame claim it does not have any impact on health while a large amount of scientific studies show it to have neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal and carcinogenic effects.

So what happens when a person consumes an artificial sweetener? Firstly it acts as an excitotoxin in the brain causing nerve damage. This nerve damage is associated with the buzz a person feels while consuming a diet soda. Long term exposure to these excitotoxins has addictive properties and is connected to many long term illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, brain lesions, Parkinson disease and dementia.

In addition to that one of the ingredients that make up aspartame is methanol. In the body methanol is oxidated into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and is linked to retinal damage and birth defects. If you talk to a heavy diet soda addict they might reveal the various vision problems that arise from time to time. This is a sign of methanol poisoning

The brain effects of artificial sweeteners are probably enough to put most people off it but if you are an individual looking to shed some body fat and lose some weight you may want to keep reading.

When the body consumes an artificial sweetener it is consuming sweetness but without any calories. The body is used to tasting something sweet and then expecting a certain amount of sugar and calories to follow it. With an artificial sweetener this is not the case. Since there is not an intake of calories the body starts to crave what it believes it was about to receive. This can lead to carbohydrate and sugar cravings which if not rejected can set someone seriously back in their weight loss pursuits.

This might be explained by researches at the Washington School of Medicine. They found that artificial sweeteners can peak blood sugar levels as insulin levels rose 20% in subjects drinking Sucralose compared to water. This also leads to an insulin drop and in turn a craving for sugar.

On a semi related note, chewing gum has a similar effect in the body. The act of chewing anticipates food and digestion so the body releases enzymes and acids that can cause bloating and digestion problems.

Its ironic that a diet drink can lead to someone craving more carbs and sugars when it is originally turned to as a way to restrict calories.
So what can a person do to make sure they are avoiding these unnecessary chemical additives?

Reading labels on food is a good start. Even though aspartame is the most well known of the artificial sweeteners one must be aware of all the different brands and forms they come in such as:

  • NutraSweet
  • Equal
  • Sweet N’ Low
  • Sweet Twin
  • Sugar Twin
  • Splenda
  • Sunett and…
  • Sweet One

The more we avoid foods that have labels and packaging the more likely we are to avoid all these chemical additives that can be included and in some cases hidden in our foods. You won’t find Splenda in an eggplant, nor will you see Sweet N’ Low in spinach. Eating whole foods as they are found in nature helps you to get the correct balance of nutrients and takes the guess work out of wondering what exactly is in the foods you may come across in the grocery store.

So ditch that diet soda for some fresh filtered water with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon to zest it up.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I delete every Keeping Up With The Kardashians episode from my dvr…

[custom_author=Jamie-Logie]

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