You’re trying to lose weight or not gain any, so you’re trying to make healthy choices about what you eat and drink. Maybe you’re counting calories or carbs, cutting back on sugar, tracking your food intake.
But what about what you’re drinking?
We’ve all heard that we’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day, or better yet, half of your body weight in ounces. But water can be so… boring! Maybe you want to treat yourself now and again. Would a diet soda be so bad? After all, it’s got zero calories!
It turns out the artificial sweeteners in diet soda are playing some nasty tricks on your body and your brain. Find out how they affect you and what they’re doing to your weight control efforts.
Diet soda programs you to crave sweets.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our genetically programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.”
All that sweetness accompanied by zero calories confuses your brain and metabolic processes leaving you craving sugar more than before. So, drinking diet soda actually conditions your taste buds to crave sweetness, which means you’ll have a harder time staying away from sugar and carbs.
Diet soda tricks your body into wanting more calories.
In a study published by the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, artificial sweeteners have been proven to stimulate your appetite, increase sugar cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain. Researchers from the University of Texas discovered that drinking diet sodas would expand your waist circumference (translation: bigger belly), a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
When you eat something sweet with no calories, your brain is tricked into wanting more calories because your body is not getting enough energy (i.e., calories) to be satisfied. So you keep craving sweets, eating sweets, and gaining weight. Artificial sweeteners are one of the reasons some people never achieve their weight loss goals.
Diet soda increases the risk of metabolic syndrome
When all that sweet taste hits the brain, it triggers the body to produce insulin, the fat-storage hormone, which tells your cells to either use sugar as food or store it as fat. When your pancreas produces insulin to deal with anticipated sugar, but then no sugar arrives, it confuses your body and disrupts its metabolic process.
The results are:
- Your metabolism slows down, so you burn fewer calories every day.
- You’re hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs.
- You put on more body fat, even eating fewer calories.
- You increase your risk of obesity.
Diet soda messes with counting calories.
If you’re counting calories, there’s a simple equation: Drinking a regular soda means you have to eat 140 calories less of something else that day or that meal. Drinking a diet soda means you’ve consumed zero calories, so you get a free pass to eat more, right?
Not so fast.
Since drinking diet soda has fooled your body into expecting sugar, it’s changed the way you metabolize those other calories. You may store more of them as fat and use fewer of them as energy, which could leave you hungry and wanting even more food.
Bad news for the brain.
Studies using data from the Framingham Heart Study, which tracked generations of families in Framingham, MA, beginning in 1948, show drinking diet soda is associated with an increased risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. One study showed that participants who had a single diet soda per day were “almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia.” Of course, this is a correlation and not necessarily cause and effect. We don’t know if it was from the soda or other poor health habits, but why would you want to take the chance on that connection?
Add to all this —
- Hazardous chemical coloring
- GMO-laced ingredients,
- Super acidity (it takes 36 glasses of water to rebalance the acidity caused by one diet soda!)
- Carcinogenic preservatives
And it turns out diet soda is one of the poorest beverage choices you can make.
So what’s delicious and exciting to drink?
According to Vani Hari, a.k.a., the Food Babe, you could try:
- Organic Raw Kombucha
- Sparkling or Soda Water + Lime Juice + Organic Cranberry Juice (with no added sugar)
- Filtered Water + Fresh Cucumbers + Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
- Sparkling or Soda Water + Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice + Grated Ginger. Consider adding melon, cucumbers, or berries for different flavors!
- 100% Raw Coconut Water
- Organic Unsweetened Green and Herbal Tea (iced or hot). Peppermint and ginger teas are great for satisfying cravings for something sweet.
- Fresh Pressed Green Juice. Keep it low on the fruit, carrots, or beets.
- Unsweetened Coconut, Cashew, or Almond Milk.
- Coffee (iced or hot, with no sugar).
Ever feel overwhelmed about all the nutritional information out there? Want a clear, personalized plan showing you how to shop, what to eat, and how to stay motivated to change your diet and habits for good?
Contact us about our Comprehensive Weight Loss Program.