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:
- Researchers tracked 9,500 men/women for nine years and found the risk of developing Syndrome X , the collection of risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, was 34 percent higher for those drinking even one can of diet soda daily than for those who didn’t drink diet soda at all.
- Diet sodas contain known carcinogens, tooth and bone destroying acids (phosphoric acid) and DNA damaging colourings (sulphite ammonia caramel).
- Hawaii recently tried banning aspartame due to health concerns and aspartame is banned in several countries.
- Aspartame can trigger SUGAR CRAVINGS and make you gain weight! From what I read, the sweet sensation triggers the brain to want something sweet and Aspartame is not sugar. Thus the body begins to crave and demand real sugar to satisfy the sensation of sweetness it received in the brain.
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.