You know that when you drink regular soda, you take in empty calories. But does swapping “diet” soda for regular soda make sense?
Yes, it cuts out the empty calories…never a bad thing. In fact, a recent study presented at the American Heart Association meeting linked excess calorie intake with 180,000 deaths per year.
Nevertheless, is diet soda the answer?
Not in my book.
There is still no convincing evidence that “diet” drinks ever did what they were designed to do. That is, actually help people lose weight.
Research shows that substituting artificially sweetened foods and beverages for full-calorie ones does reduce the intake of calories…initially. But real sugar and extra calories find other ways back into the diet.
In fact, some research even links weight gain and obesity to diet drink consumption.
How does this even happen?
Well, as I described in a recent article, artificial sweeteners confuse our brains.
We don’t know exactly how it works. But this is one theory…
Drinks and foods made with artificial sweeteners may lack the calories, but they still tell your brain that you are eating something sweet. And because the mind and body are connected; your brain sends the wrong signal to your metabolism. As a result, you become “addicted” to sugar…even without the sugar.
Or maybe it works like a bait and switch. The artificial sweeteners tell your brain and your body to expect calories. And then, when you don’t immediately get the anticipated payoff, you crave more food, sugar and calories.
Either way, they mess with our heads.
Plus, artificial sweeteners are often “super sweet.” For example, sucralose (Splenda) is 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Some experts think this artificial sweetness “resets” your taste buds to expect a sweeter payoff…well beyond anything you could realistically find in nature.
This helps keep your brain’s preference for sugar at an abnormally high level. And you may feel motivated to seek out sugar from other sources (of which, there are plenty), even while drinking only diet sodas.
Plus, remember that artificial sweeteners are just that–artificial, synthetic chemicals. Not foods. No one really knows for sure how the body responds to them.
But we are now finding out.
Newer research links artificial sweeteners to heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, in major one study from Columbia University and University of Miami, people who drink diet soda every day had a 43 percent increased risk of having a cardiovascular event (heart attack and/or stroke) over the following 10 years. That’s compared to those who didn’t drink diet soda.
In another study that I reported on earlier this year, French researchers found a link between drinking diet soda–as well as sugared sodas–and Type II diabetes. Yet drinking fruit juices showed no adverse effect.
The true path to good health and a healthy weight is to put your brain (and your taste buds) in rehab. First, cut out super-sweet artificial sugars. Then, cut out regular sugar. Fruit is always fine. And finally, cut out hidden sugar.
You’ll find hidden sugar in many places like salad dressings, pasta sauces, and crackers. You can find it in just about any processed snack product or food.
When it comes to diet and nutrition, overall patterns are important. People who avoid diet drinks are more likely to have healthier diets overall. And now we know maybe it’s because they don’t crave extra sugar.
Take in lots of natural sugars instead, like strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. They all taste great at this time of year.
To be sure, your body needs to drink to obtain fluids and electrolytes–that is, water and salts. But human physiology is not set up to obtain calories, sugars, and fatty acids from drinking.
Stick with water.
It’s the ultimate, calorie-free drink. Or, even better, try South African red bush. You’ll get those trace electrolytes in a delicious, zero-calorie drink. Plus, you’ll hydrate your body at the cellular level. To learn more about how to achieve optimal cellular hydration, read my special report called The Miracle at “Red Bush.” Subscribers to my newsletter get this report for free. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.
And to get the best source of South African red bush, I recommend “Red Joe” brand. It’s a pure, natural, and water-soluble powder extract. Look for it in the near future on my website DrMicozzi.com.
1. “Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study,” Journal of General Internal Medicine 2012; (9): 1120-1126