Do you drink diet sodas or use chemical sugar substitutes to avoid sugar and weight gain? Diet sodas may actually double your risk of obesity. Studies are showing that participants are 65 percent more likely to be overweight if they consumed one diet soda a day compared to if they drank none. Two or more low- or no-calorie soft drinks raised the odds of becoming obese or overweight even higher. Those who drank diet soda had a greater chance of becoming overweight than participants who drank regular soda. Diet sodas also raise the risk of diabetes.
Can Diet Soda Cause Weight Gain?
How could this be? Drinking artificially sweetened beverages (and eating other sugar free diet foods) “tricks” the pancreas into releasing insulin, which increases fat storage, spikes appetite and carb cravings, and stimulates appetite, leading to overeating and weight gain. Increased insulin has been linked to heart disease and increased fat storage.
Adding insult to injury, aspartame, the artificial chemical that makes diet sodas sweet, is neurotoxic, meaning it causes brain cell and neuron death. Neurotoxins are also classified as excitotoxins, meaning they excite or stimulate your neural cells to death. These chemicals have been linked to 90+ side effects such as migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia (racing heart), insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. No thanks. We are bombarded with an unprecedented number of toxins on a daily basis. Why introduce additional chemicals we can easily avoid?
Time to give this stuff up for good. Keep in mind that it takes about 21 days to break a habit and that it may be rough at first, but STICK WITH IT. Eventually the cravings will disappear. If you’re drinking soda for the sweet taste, you may experience sugar cravings. Click here for info on how to smash your sugar cravings. If you’re drinking it for the caffeine because you need a boost, switch to green tea. Or better yet, determine why you’re so tired: not enough sleep? Eating refined foods like (bread, pasta, wheat/white flour products or sugar) that make you crash?
Remember, with everything you eat and drink, you are either creating health or destroying it. Replacing nutrient void or harmful foods/drinks (or I should say food-like products, since they are all chemicals) with more nutrient dense options means you’ll be healthier and feel and LOOK better.
Here are some substitutes if you are bored with water (a complaint I hear frequently).
Remember that dehydration can also sabotage your weight loss efforts and slow your metabolism!
1. If you are bored with water, jazz it up with lemon, lime and/or cucumber slices, or even ginger.
2. Drink herbal teas throughout the day or make homemade iced tea to sip on.
3. Make your own “soda” with sparkling water and a splash or unsweetened cranberry (or add a little stevia) or pomegranate juice.
4. Drink a green juice! It infuses your body with minerals.
5. Add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to your water. I love this! Refreshing and may boost weight loss efforts.
6. Try my iced tulsi cooler. Tasty and hormone-balancing.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.