Sunday, February 1, 2015

how (and why) I stopped drinking diet sodas

I never thought I would stop drinking diet sodas. They have been a part of my life for every day that I can remember! As a kid in the 70's, when TAB came out, it was a real treat and not something that we kept at home. As I got older, diet soda was just a way of life; the fridge was always stocked. I liked Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Diet Sprite, and then really enjoyed Diet Dr. Pepper. Every diet I had ever been on (and there have been lots), had encouraged diet soda. One even encouraged Diet R.C. Cola, which has no sugar, no caffeine, no sodium ( flavor, no fun)... but it's better than nothing.

It wasn't until I began to consider 'food as medicine' that I thought about the soda that was a regular part of my day. For me, part of this process included a question: "Is this food?" Sometimes, I would couch it this way: "Would my great-grandmother (died circa 1930) recognize this as food?" That question is often easily answered. My great-grandma would never think that the following things are food or drink options: Cheetos, Cheerios, skim milk, Cool Whip, "I can't believe it's not butter," Fruit Loops, "Go-gurt," Mountain Dew, Diet Sodas, Goldfish crackers  .... Of course, being a farmer in Randleman, she probably would not recognize coconuts, papaya, mango, avocado, salsa, hummus, pesto, or frozen foods of any sort. So, this is not a fool-proof method, but I did get a new sense of "what is food" from asking this question! Certainly, diet sodas have NO nutritional value, and a bunch of chemicals which do unknown things to our bodies.

There is a great article from Healthy Sustainable Living about drinking sodas that compares the damage done to our bodies equivalent to the damage done by smoking. This research was about sugar-sweetened sodas, but there is still great info for diet-drinkers, too. Plus 10 reasons to stop drinking soda. It links to a 2012 study of soda drinkers:
Scientists at Boston University’s medical school say people who drink more than one regular or diet soda each day develop the same risks for heart disease.
What’s more, people who drank more than one soft drink a day were between 25 and 31 percent more likely to become extremely overweight, have larger waists, and develop higher levels of triglycerides and lower levels of "good" cholesterol than folks who drank only one daily soda, according to the findings.

Low-calorie diet soft drinking clearly do not prevent weight gain or obesity.
So, in addition to having no nutrition and lots of unknown chemicals, diet sodas don't even help me lose weight! Yikes! Although, I must admit, I have had my share of using diet coke to validate overeating. "Diet Coke has negative calories; drink it with pizza and it all evens out!" Have you ever heard (or said) that? So, it also gives us "permission" to overeat, since we're "undereating" with diet sodas... yuck...

I discussed on January 30 how I quit caffeine (which, for me, was part of why I drank soda). I'll summarize: a little at a time. I counted an average of how many sodas I drank in a day (4-5). On a good day, I would have 1 less soda than the day before. On bad days, I'd have my "normal". Pretty soon, I was used to 1 less. Then, I would reduce by one more. It didn't matter to me how long it took; it mattered more to me that it was easy to do. I also want to give a "shout out" to my friend Deborah, who had quit months before and was living proof to me that "normal" people could do this! Thanks for showing me the path, Deborah! Now, it's your turn... want to put fewer chemicals in your body? Want to stop "tricking" your body into thinking it's getting sugar when it's not? Think about it, and try it.


  1. That's why I drink mostly water.
    I do have one diet soda a day though, usually one of the clear ones such as Sprite or Cherry 7Up. I remember reading somewhere that there's something in the dark sodas that contributes to weight gain, diet or not.

  2. Stopping by to join your site and say hi from the AtoZ Challenge. Great to meet you here. And as to diet sodas, never in a million years. Worst stuff on earth. I'm an organic freak, but never to excess. Just give me water and wine, of course. Life is good with both of those.

    1. Good balance - water, wine, laughter!