Why Your ‘Diet’ Drink Isn’t Good for Your Diet

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For those readers that say that water is too bland, tea is too bitter, and coffee is only good when loaded with sweeteners, read this post to get that last push of momentum towards drinking all natural water.  You’ve heard time and time again that drinking carbonated pop drinks adds calories quite quickly to your diet. Diet soda, with zero calories and sweetened with artificial sugar sounds like the great alternative, right?

Wrong!

Published late in 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), an article was written by Harvard professor David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD.  Ludwig is the Director of the Optimal Weight for Life clinic at Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  In the article Ludwig points out how artifically sweetened drinks affect our bodies.

1. The body is confused by artificial sweeteners.  The system that regulates the control of hunger and body weight is placed out of sync by artificial sweeteners, and weight loss plans are sabotaged.  Both the sense of sweet tastes and calorie intake are imbalanced by artificial sweeteners that have zero calories and the direct intake of these sweeteners affects the irregularity of the system.  A study conducted on rodents demonstrated that rodents fed saccharine gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose.

2. We’re “Infantilizing” our taste sense.  Artificial sweeteners can range from 100x – 600x sweeter than table sugar.  By consuming more of the stronger, artificial sweet than of other natural sweet flavors, the taste of fruits and vegetables are desensitized and taste bland.  This is conflicting to the need to eat more natural fruits and vegetables to sustain a healthy diet.  Compare children’s foods and look at how little actual fruit is used to sweeten fruit snacks in comparison to the amount of artificial sweeteners.

3. Long term effects of artificial sweeteners are unclear. Many studies have been conducted for the past 40 years on artificial sweeteners.  Some studies have proven or disproven their effects to cause certain cancers, but according to the USDA, most are generally deemed as safe to consume.  The bottom line is that long term studies have not been conducted on the specifics of artificial sweeteners, even those termed ‘natural’ such as the newly released stevia plant.

That diet Pepsi or diet Coke that is labeled as ‘zero’ calories may sound great for your low calorie plan, but the effects of the artificial sugar may cause an imbalance in your body, causing you to crave other foods and to eat more than you realize.  The more fake sweet we eat, the more sugar we need to add to foods to taste the sweetness.  Soda pop is linked to obesity, and many Americans are considered obese. But many obese Americans also have cancer.  So when is soda pop going to be linked to cancer?  There are so many questions that have yet to be answered, but one thing for sure is that water causes no unnatural effects to the body, so drink up!

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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