If you’re looking for a sugar fix, try drinking diet soda instead. It may not taste as sweet, but it will satisfy your craving without adding calories or extra sugars.
Diet sodas are made by removing the natural and artificial flavors from regular soft drinks to make them artificially sweetened. They can be found in many different varieties including: carbonated water with no added ingredients; flavored sparkling waters that contain fruit juice concentrates such as orange, grapefruit, apple, cherry, etc.; still waters that have been infused with flavorings like lemon, lime, strawberry, raspberry, cucumber, etc.; iced teas and coffees that come in various sizes and shapes such as cans, bottles, cartons, boxes, bags, pouches, cups, tumblers, mugs, pitchers, glasses, etc., depending on where you buy them.
The problem is that most people don’t know what they’re missing out on when they drink these beverages because of their lack of knowledge about how much sugar is actually contained within each one. The truth is that there’s more than just plain old H2O inside those containers! In fact, some diet sodas contain up to 50 grams of sugar per 12-ounce serving — which means that if you drank two servings every day, you’d consume over 100 pounds of sugar in less than three months! That’s enough to put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, tooth decay, cavities, gum problems, and other health issues.
Sugar content in diet sodas
A study published in Diabetes Care revealed that women who consumed an average of 2.5 sugary drinks daily were almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who didn’t drink any sugary beverages. Another study showed that men who regularly drank diet cola had higher levels of insulin resistance than non-drinkers. And yet another study concluded that consuming even small amounts of high fructose corn syrup causes metabolic damage similar to that caused by alcohol consumption. So why would anyone want to add this kind of unnecessary sugar into his/her body? Well, here are four reasons…
Sugars help keep us feeling full longer
So we eat fewer calories overall. When you replace calorie-dense foods with low-calorie alternatives, you’ll feel fuller faster and eat fewer total calories. This helps control weight gain and maintain healthy eating habits.
Large quantities of sucrose
Some studies suggest that diets containing large quantities of sucrose cause changes in brain chemistry that promote overeating. Other research suggests that the sweetness of food stimulates our brains’ reward centers, making us crave sweets. A third theory holds that the combination of carbohydrates and fat makes us hungrier. However, none of these theories explain why certain types of carbohydrate seem to trigger cravings while others do not.
Many experts believe that the human digestive system evolved to process simple sugars efficiently, leaving little room for complex carbs. As a result, your body may need extra time to break down complex starches before it gets to absorb nutrients. If you skip or delay meals, your blood glucose level will rise quickly after drinking soda. Your pancreas has to work harder to produce enough insulin to clear the excess sugar from your bloodstream. Over time, this could lead to Type II diabetes.
Diet Soda and heredity
Studies show that children whose mothers drink diet soda during pregnancy tend to weigh more than kids born to moms who abstain from all forms of caffeine. Researchers speculate that the reason behind this phenomenon might lie in the way that caffeine affects fetal growth. It appears that babies exposed to caffeine in utero grow slower than normal.
If you’ve ever wondered whether adding diet soda to your existing beverage habit was worth it, now you know the answer. But if you really want to cut back on your intake of refined sugars, try swapping out your usual sodas for healthier options instead. Here are five great substitutes for diet soda:
Water – Water is always good for you, but it also happens to be free. Make sure you stay well hydrated throughout the day by sipping plenty of pure filtered tap water. Try using a pitcher rather than individual glassware to ensure everyone stays properly hydrated.
Coffee – Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and contains very few calories. Add half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to your coffee to boost its antioxidant power. Or use whole beans instead of instant powder.
Sweeteners in diet soda
Diet soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame. These chemicals have been linked to:
- birth defects,
- heart disease,
- Alzheimer’s Disease,
- Parkinson’s Disease,
- multiple sclerosis,
- memory loss,
- learning disabilities,
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
- bipolar disorders, schizophrenia,
- suicide attempts, and
- other mental health problems.
The FDA banned both substances in 1970s because they were found unsafe.
The American Cancer Society recommends limiting consumption of artificially-sweetened foods and beverages due to their link to weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. They recommend choosing 100% fruit juice over ASFA products when possible.
Alcohol itself isn’t bad for you. Moderate consumption appears to protect against coronary artery disease, although excessive drinking raises both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. On top of all that, heavy imbibers tend to eat more saturated fats and carbohydrates. So when you’re looking to cut down on sugar cravings, alcohol can actually make them worse!
There’s no denying that alcohol can make you feel better. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage. In fact, moderate amounts of red wine reduce the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and coronary artery disease. Moderate drinkers also appear less likely to develop dementia later in life.
But too much booze isn’t so healthy either.
Diet Soda and Metabolic syndrome
The Metabolic Syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity; elevated triglycerides; reduced HDL cholesterol; raised fasting plasma glucose; hypertension; and increased waist circumference. The condition can increase an individuals risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diseases.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with several genetic disorders including familial combined hyperlipidemia, congenital generalized lipodystrophy and Berardinelli-Seip Congenital Lipodystrophy. These conditions have been linked to mutations in genes encoding proteins involved in lipid metabolism such as adiponectin receptor 1, seipin, and perilipins respectively. In addition, metabolic syndrome is often seen in patients with endocrine disorders like acromegaly, hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s Disease.
There are many ways to treat metabolic syndrome. Treatment strategies include lifestyle modifications, medication therapy, bariatric surgery, and even stem cell transplantation. Lifestyle modification includes dietary changes, exercise programs, smoking cessation, stress management and sleep hygiene. Medications used to treat metabolic syndrome include statins, fibrates, niacin, thiazolidinediones, metformin, incretin mimetics, glucagon-like peptide-1 analogues, bile acid sequestrants, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, and sodium/glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors.
Diet Soda and Sweet tastes
In one study, people were asked to rate their desire for sweet foods after drinking either plain water or sugar-free lemonade. Those who drank the sugary drinks reported feeling significantly less satisfied with their food choices compared to those who had consumed only water. This suggests that artificially sweetened beverages may make us feel hungrier because they trigger our brains to release hormones that signal we’re full when there’s not enough energy available to satisfy hunger pangs.
A similar effect has been observed among overweight adults. After consuming a meal containing artificial sweeteners, these subjects ate fewer calories at subsequent meals than did others given real table sugar.
This could explain why diets high in fructose — which occurs naturally in fruit, honey and agave syrup — lead to weight gain over time. Fructose stimulates insulin production, which causes fat cells to store extra fuel. And since most Americans consume far too much fructose via soft drinks, juice and processed foods, experts say cutting down on these sources will help curb cravings for sweets.
Fruit juices contain large amounts of natural fructose, so avoid them altogether. Instead, opt for fresh fruits whenever possible. If you must indulge in canned or bottled fruit, choose 100 percent fruit varieties without any added ingredients.
Diet Soda and Sugar alcohols
Another common source of hidden sugar? Artificial sweeteners. While some studies suggest that replacing regular sugar with low-calorie alternatives helps reduce calorie consumption, others indicate that they actually cause more appetite stimulation. One reason: They can be metabolized by bacteria in your gut into short chain fatty acids, which increase blood levels of ghrelin, an orexigenic hormone that triggers feelings of hunger.
The best way to combat this problem is to stick to diet soda made from stevia instead of sucralose, cyclamate, saccharine or aspartame. Stevia comes from plants native to Paraguay and Brazil; it doesn’t spike blood glucose levels or affect thyroid function. It also contains no calories, making it perfect for anyone trying to lose weight.
If you do decide to drink diet sodas, limit yourself to two per day. According to research published in The Journal of Nutrition, women who regularly drank diet cola experienced increased body mass index and waist circumference. Other studies show that frequent use of artificial sweeteners increases risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Diet Soda and Caffeine
While caffeine isn’t technically part of the “sweet” family, it does contribute to a craving for something sweeter. A small amount of coffee or tea won’t put you off your game if you’ve got a healthy breakfast waiting for you. But if you find yourself reaching for a snack midmorning, try switching out your cup of joe for decaf. Or better yet, skip the java entirely.
Diet Soda and Risk of stroke
According to new research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2012, men who frequently drink diet soda are twice as likely to have a first ever episode of nonfatal stroke. In fact, researchers found that even moderate intake of diet soda was associated with higher rates of stroke.
So what gives? Scientists aren’t sure exactly how diet soda affects blood pressure, but they suspect it might be due to its effects on sodium metabolism. Sodium plays a key role in regulating fluid balance throughout the body, including maintaining normal blood pressure. When sodium levels drop, fluids shift toward the kidneys where they get reabsorbed back into circulation. As a result, blood volume decreases and blood pressure rises.
But while many health professionals agree that limiting salt intake reduces hypertension, few believe that artificial sweeteners play a role. However, according to recent animal data, diet soda drinkers appear to experience changes in kidney function that resemble those seen in patients suffering from chronic metabolic syndrome—which includes obesity, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and abnormal blood pressure. These findings raise concerns about whether long term exposure to diet soda may pose risks beyond just cardiovascular problems.
How To Combat Sweet Tooth Craving
To keep your sweet tooth under control, follow these tips:
1) Eat regular meals every three hours. This will help stabilize insulin levels so your brain gets less hungry between meals.
2) Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush excess sugars from the system before they reach your bloodstream. If you don’t like plain H20, add some lemon juice or cucumber slices to give your stomach an extra kick.
3) Avoid sugary snacks such as candy bars, cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc. Instead, choose healthier options like fresh fruit, nuts, cheese sticks, yogurt, popcorn, granola bar, trail mix, whole grain crackers, low-fat string cheese, hummus dip, cottage cheese, tuna salad, turkey sandwich, peanut butter toast, veggie chips, baked potato loaded with sour cream and chives, etc.
4) Cut back on caffeinated beverages. Coffee and other hot drinks contain lots of added sugar along with caffeine which makes us crave sweets. Switching to green tea, black tea, unsweetened iced teas, herbal tea blends, or sparkling mineral waters should satisfy your need for caffeine without triggering any sweet cravings.
5) Don’t forget to exercise. Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to burn off calories and reduce stress. It also improves moods by increasing serotonin production in the brain. Exercise boosts energy levels and increases self confidence. Plus, it’s fun! Try walking briskly around the block at least five times per week.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to lose weight, cut down on refined carbohydrates, processed foods, fast food, fried foods, and sodas. And make sure to eat enough protein and healthy fats each day. But remember, there’s no single magic bullet when it comes to losing weight. The most important thing is making small lifestyle adjustments over time.
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.