Diet soda: The zero calorie disaster

"But diet sodas have zero calories and no fat!" Sure if you plan on just staring at the can.

"But diet sodas have zero calories and no fat!" Sure if you plan on just staring at the can.

The zero calorie disaster

One of the biggest addictions of our time also happens to be one of the biggest health scams ever created. Dieters everywhere are still flocking to diet soda to provide a tasty treat, but does zero calories on a label equal zero on the waistline? The body wants what it recognizes, not what it cannot process. These beverages contain substances like sucralose, (splenda), and aspartame, (nutrasweet) , both still widely available despite the fact that they wreck havoc on our health.  Here are a few more reasons to avoid it?

1. Weight gain- Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame are hundreds to thousands times sweeter than sugar. They may show zero calories on the label but that's not what the body sees. Once you have a drink, the receptors in the brain are waiting for incoming sugar so insulin gets released, except there's no calories. And what happens next? Distortions in the body's hormones and biochemistry that ends up making you crave more sugar since the cells in the brain have to now make sense of what just took up space in the body. A study back in 2011 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio followed 474 diet soda drinkers for nearly 10 years and found their waists grew more than the waits of non-diet soda drinkers. And those who drank 2 or more? A 500 % increase in waist size! These sweeteners also confuse the metabolism, so you're burning less calories on that treadmill.

2. Health problems- There now have been hundreds of published studies linking these sweeteners, (not to mention the caramel coloring )with serious health problems like stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and obesity. Research at Harvard medical has recently suggested that drinking diet sodas are also associated with a decline in kidney function in women, while a study in Denmark found the risk of giving birth prematurely increased by 38 percent among women who drank diet soda. Junk foods like this also move us away from healthy foods like fresh veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and healthier beverage alternatives like herbal teas, fresh juices, or organic coffee in moderation.

3. It's addictive- Oh that delicious synergistic combo of caffeine and aspartame is the perfect storm. We have a taste, it hits the brain like morphine and we're soon asking for more. There's also the likelihood that the brain cells become desensitized where we wind up needing more and more. Best to gradually reduce these beverages to very little or none at all. By leaning into the change it will help reset the taste buds slowly causing little to no side effects.



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