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    « Little Successes | Main | Ouch. »
    Saturday
    Aug162008

    A Few Thoughts on Soda

    I love a nice cold soda.  On my off days, I guarantee that I will have a tall glass of my fizzy caffeinated friend at some point.

    One might be inclined to ask the following: "Why not just switch to diet sodas?"  It seems like a logical choice.  After all, diet sodas have zero calories (that's good), zero sugar (that's good, too) and caffeine.  A pretty simple decision, wouldn't you agree?  I should drink diet sodas.

    Or not.

    Despite the obvious benefits of zero sugar and zero calories, there are a host of other problems with diet soda, the first of which begins with the artificial sweeteners.  The big culprit here is aspartame (branded as Nutrasweet).  The jury is out on the deliterious effects of aspartame on the body, but the 5500+ complaints received by the FDA have to have some merit.  Just from what I've personally experienced as a result of consuming diet sodas, aspartame is a substance to be avoided.  I've suffered debilitating headaches, memory loss, moodiness, and a variety of other physiological effects that can be attributed to aspartame.  My father suffered from similar effects before switching his intake to water only.  In all, there are over 90 side effects linked to aspartame consumption ranging from headaches to brain damage and death.  Pretty good reasons, IMO, to just avoid the stuff altogether.

    Another trap of drinking diet sodas is the fact that the consumer is led to believe that it's a zero-sum game.  Zero calories means we can drink as much of it as we want with no effect on the body.  I'm no scientist (never claimed to be) but I have to think that drinking gallons of phosphoric acid, citric acid, caffeine, aspartame, and caramel color each week will have some physiological effects - and they probably won't be very good.  People also tend to over-consume in other areas because they believe that the zero calories in diet soda provides some flexibility in other areas of the diet.  The old "I can eat an extra slice of pizza because my diet soda has fewer calories than regular soda" approach to eating.  Silly, but you'd be surprised at the number of people I've heard talk this way.

    So here's the situation: I want my caffeine, but I don't want all the extra sugar that comes with a regular soda - and I certainly don't want the possible effects offered by diet soda.  So where does that leave me?  Thankfully, my wife works at a coffee shop where I can buy a double-shot latte made with skim milk.  Zero sweeteners, low fat, and enough caffeine to keep my head from exploding at 4:00 PM.  Eventually I'll wean my way off the stuff, but such things take time.

    Be well.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Links

    Sugar-Free, Artificial Sweeteners Sickness

    Aspartame Side Effects

    Nutrasweet

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