Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Dangers of Diet Coke

I loved Diet Coke. Days could pass sans a single sip of water but I drank at least 16 oz in diet soda daily. One of my 108 in 2008 was to give up diet coke for 1 week. The prospect scared me. Diet soda was a part of my life. It was my "safe food" yummy with zero calories! Of all my goals this was the one I had the least confidence of completing hence I vowed to be "diet soda free for a week" as opposed to a month like most of my other goals. I didn't think I could do it.

The trigger to kick start the week long diet soda deprivation began when I started hearing about the dangers of aspartame, the artificial sweetener in most of our calorie free drinks. I thought, but the FDA would not approve something bad for me and if it weren't for diet soda I'd never lose weight. But then I began researching and I learned a thing or two such as:
I want to lose a few pounds but the biggest obstacle has always been my sweet tooth. The cravings can be so strong that sometimes I feel that I must simply indulge as though the choice is not mine. I hated the feeling of lacking self control. Ever since I stopped drinking diet soda, my cravings stopped. Its life changing. That doesn't mean I look at a brownie and shriek in disgust, but it does mean I don't feel weak in the knees with a physiological need to indulge my sweet tooth. Sometimes I wonder if its all in my head, that because I think it stops my cravings it has. But I have a hard time believing this since I know how long I've tried to quit, and how difficult its been. For the cravings to have simply poof! evaporated when the only change was the absence of diet coke... I can't help but draw a connection.

The first few days sans fake sugar gave me a slight headache, I had less energy than usual, but its subsided now and I'm 11 days diet soda free with no plans to resume. Some say there's no negative side effects to diet soda, but I'm of the "better safe than sorry" mentality and I've seen the positive effect its had for me, and really, what am I losing out on? A diuretic that gave no nutrition or substance to my body?

If you have seemingly uncontrollable cravings like I did and drink diet soda regularly why not try to go without for a week and see? If the prospect feels frightening perhaps its the best reason of all to quit for good.

12 comments:

Shawna said...

I was just reading a post on Zen Habits about weaning yourself off of foods for a healthly lifestyle. In light of your last post, it's especially poignant as it discusses how ot become a vegetarian. But it definitely fits how you gave up just Diet Coke. I have a friend who used to have terrible back problems. He swears it was caused by Diet Coke. There was also a study recently claiming 2 sodas diet or not per day dramatically increases your chances for kidney disease. Good for you that you're off the juice!

Living Away said...

i'm happy i'm not into sodas! i'm pretty sure i don't drink more than 5 cans per year!
i'm crazy about chocolate and i didn't eat it for 1 whole and long year! i even didn't know i could do such a thing! detail...i was living in switzerland!

Anonymous said...

I don't think I will ever give up diet drinks. I am addicted to diet pepsi with lime. I drink three cans every day!

chickpea said...

Wow, this is a great post. For the past few years I haven't been a big soda drinker, but after I started law school I've been drinking more and more diet coke and diet pepsi. It helps give me a caffeine boost, especially during brief writing time (just finished my brief on Tuesday).

Lately, I've been having a lot of sugar cravings, for cookies, specifically, and even though I have a notorious sweet tooth, I've noticed that the craving for sugar has been almost insatiable. I've heard about all the horror stories attributed to soda (especially diet soda), which is why I've stayed away from it in general, but now I see that I am going to have to end my short lived love affair with Diet Pepsi/Coke.

I'm going back to water with lime and 100% cranberry juice!

Aisha said...

Shawna, I read Zen Habits too! I remember reading that post on Zen Habits. I guess having my 108 in 2008 has helped me make discrete steps in bettering myself which is an easier way to do it as opposed to plunging in and changing EVERYTHING. I know thats a way to reach goals that Zen Habits encourages, one step at a time.

Living Away, a whole year w/out chocolate in Switzerland?!? WOW, that takes incredible self control. Why did you do that? Not even a little bit?

Anon- I used to be the same way, maybe over time...? :)

Chick Pea, I went to law school too and thats when my addiction to diet coke ratcheted up to the degree it did. I am really happy that this post was helpful to you,and it helps me to know that I'm not the only one whose seen the upsurge of cravings with the introduction of diet coke. If it helps, I do drink caffeine in the form of chai and coffee and it doesnt seem to trigger similar cravings. I either drink the beverages without sugar or I have a litte sugar. But I think though sugar is another evil in and of itself, a spoonful here and there at least so far is not triggering cravings like diet coke once did.

mystic-soul said...

I think, H2O is the best drink. Years ago I was addicted to sprite but now way happier without it.

pilgrimchick said...

Well done on the diet soda--and good job on the extra research. I have never been a fan of the diet stuff, and the side effects of lots of the "real" deal are well known, but it's interesting to find out that the diet version has its own drawbacks. And GREAT that the cravings stopped, too.

Aisha said...

Mystic, amen to that!

Pilgrim Chick, thanks :) Yeah the difference is mind blowing.... I dont know why I didnt know about this sooner.

Tee said...

I still can't shake my Crystal Light habit... I mean, it's a sugar free juice drink - what's wrong with me? LOL. They should re-name it Crystal Meth... oh yeah. That ones taken ;)

Muse said...

I need to give up Diet Pepsi. My family and friends have tried to stage interventions, its kind of out of control. But I need my caffeine, and I absolutely cannot stand coffee or chai. So what to do Aisha, what to do??

Anonymous said...

I think it is time for all of us to understand the economic and social ills of diet drinks. they are expensive (unlike water free) and they are illness producing (medical costs) and they are addictive. I am trying again in my life to stop diet drinks. today I have only had 1/2 of a 24oz bottle and am proud to say that I spent the time looking on line to scare myself away from it (the cravings are so bad). I am quit ing this addiction today. so can you.

Anonymous said...

Chocolate lovers should try Xocai. It is not candy, it is a dark healthy chocolate full of antioxidants. It is natural, some are vegan, cold pressed, no dairy, no wax, no fillers, with acai. Google it and find a chocolate tasting event in your area. The stuff is amazing.

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