~By Sheila Garcia
DIET SODA. We drink it because the name alone lends itself to the idea that it will help make us “skinny”, or even that it is a “healthier option”. These soft drinks can even be marketed as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘zero calorie’. They are generally marketed toward health-conscious people, diabetics, athletes, and other people who want to lose weight, improve physical fitness, or reduce their sugar intake.
It’s true, there is no sugar in these nectars, so many of us rely on them as a substitute to the drinks that are full of sugar in an effort to avoid them. Perhaps they are for you, perhaps they are not. My mission today is to educate you on the ingredients that are in diet sodas so that you can make a conscious and TRULY healthy decision.
Multiple artificial sweeteners can be used to give diet soda a ‘sweet’ taste without sugar. Sometimes two or more of these sweeteners are used in the same beverage. Here are some of the ingredients used in diet sodas:
ASPARTAME – Aspartame is the number-one most-commonly used artificial sweetener in diet sodas. It is also, by far, the most dangerous ingredient added to food and beverage products. It can hide under the names NutraSweet, Equal, or the one that aims to fool you the most – AminoSweet. Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The latter has been synthetically altered to carry a methyl group, which is responsible for aspartame’s sweet taste. The phenylalanine methyl bond, called methyl ester, allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.
The components of aspartame can lead to a wide variety of ailments. Some of these problems occur gradually while others are immediate, acute reactions. They can come in the form of birth defects, brain cancer, diabetes (yes! even diabetes though there is no sugar!), emotional disorders, seizures, epilepsy, and pancreatic cancer.
SACCHARIN – The FDA was petitioned to ban saccharin as a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) but a moratorium was placed on the ban until studies were conducted. The ban was lifted in 1991, but by that time, virtually all diet soda production had shifted to using aspartame. It is not used as often as it’s aforementioned partner, but when it is, can carry the same reactions and cause the same effects.
SUCRALOSE – Sucralose is made by replacing three hydrogen-oxygen groups on a sucrose molecule with three chlorine atoms. Also known as a healthier-sounding name, acesulfame potassium, there is nothing healthy to be said for sucralose, or it’s more marketable name, Splenda. It is being used with increased frequency, being marketed in a lot of the sugar-free diet sodas.
In animals examined for one study, Sucralose (Splenda) reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent. Some other effects it can have on you are gastrointestinal problems, migraines, seizures, dizziness, blurred vision, blood sugar increases, and even weight gain.
In fact, there’s overwhelming evidence that consuming artificial sweeteners will likely wreak havoc on your body. The belief that consuming artificially sweetened foods and drinks will help you to lose or maintain weight is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you are still opting for diet choices for this reason, please understand that you have been sorely misled. Nearly a decade ago, studies were already revealing that artificial sweeteners can:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Increase carbohydrate cravings
- Stimulate fat storage and weight gain
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar.
In reality, these diet drinks can cause serious distortions in your biochemistry and ruin your body’s ability to control calories. As a matter of fact, it’s been shown that diet soft drinks can actually double your risk of obesity!
I choose to stay clear of all sodas entirely – including and especially diet, but ultimately, the decision is yours. If you do choose to drink diet soda, remember the things you read in this article today, and remember the health-and-fitness lifestyle you are trying to live – and the legacy you are creating as you do!
Some sources for this article:
Natural Sciences Degree Program