My friend Adam asked a really great question in the comments section of my post the other day about Food Logging. He read how diet soda was one of the first things I gave up when I started trying to lose weight, and wrote:
“Can you explain the reasoning behind giving up diet soda? I’ve heard this before, but never understood why. One explanation I’ve heard is that when people drink diet soda, they may subconsciously feel they are therefore allowed to stray from good behavior in some other fashion. The explanation that makes more sense to me is that by drinking diet soda, one conditions himself to crave something artificially overly sweet with a meal, which is a bad trend. Are either of those reasons what you’ve been told?”
I’ve heard, over the years, a lot of chit-chat about how terrible diet soda is for you, although I never thoroughly researched it myself. A quick online search turns up a few scary things to consider (as well as articles articulating the two points Adam made while asking the question):
- Caffeine is a diuretic, so it won’t help you stay hydrated (it also can cause problems relating to fatique, chronic anxiety, and insomnia).
- Phosphoric acid, another ingredient, leaches calcium from your system, and too much acid in your digestive tract can mess with your pH balance.
- A study published last month links diet soda with a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.
- Then there’s the aspartame, the main artificial sweetener in a lot of diet soda. Lots of people are weary of aspartame, because studies have linked it to certain types of cancers in lab animals, although a 2006 study says that there’s no link between aspartame and cancer in humans.
When it came down to it, Adam, I cut out diet soda because Richard Simmons suggested I make that change. I wasn’t a diet soda fiend before – I drank, on average, 2 cans a day – but it seemed like an easy swap to make, especially when I was just starting out and the prospect of changing my entire diet seemed overwhelming. At the time, I wasn’t sure how successful I’d be at losing weight, but I knew cutting out diet soda was something I could definitely work on, so the idesa of making progress in that small way seemed promising. I also didn’t quit it cold turkey – I weaned myself off of it over a month or so, and used Crystal Light as a crutch. I would buy the single-serve packets, where you’re supposed to dump 1 packet into a 20-oz bottle of water, shake it up, and voila! You have Crystal Light lemonade or fruit punch or whatever. Except that I would dilute one packet into 1/2 gallon of water, so the flavor (and sweetness level) was much weaker. I drank my weak Crystal Light for months before I felt ready to switch to plain ol’ water altogether, which is mostly what I drink now (with occasional milk, juices, and teas, and very occasional alcohol).
What I’ve found, now that I stopped drinking diet soda, is that I have far fewer sweet cravings than I used to have when I drank it, and I love that. I can remember countless times when I used to feel thirsty at work, grab a Diet Coke, and then, 1/2 hour later, feel the desire for something sweet, and before I knew it, I’d be dipping into a bowl of candy. The few times I have had diet soda in the past few months (I drank some Diet Sprite at a wedding, mistaking it for water; and have sampled some home-made sodas from my SodaStream because I was curious), I thought it was ridiculously, revoltingly sweet, and I love that I’m no longer accustomed to the taste – it makes saying No to diet soda so much easier.
A huge part of my weight loss success has been pinpointing when and where I get easily tempted to make poor choices, and finding ways to plan alternatives or avoid those situations. Knowing that cutting out diet soda has squashed many of my sweet cravings is all the reason I need to continue to not drink it!
Before I move on, just a friendly reminder that if you have questions for me, then ask away! I read every comment left on this blog, so you can ask that way, like Adam did, but if you’d rather ask me something anonymously, you’ll find my email address if you click on Contact at the top of the page.
TIME FOR A CHART UPDATE!
I weighed myself yesterday morning, and… I’m down another pound! That puts my weight at 237 pounds, and my total weight loss at 165 pounds! Here’s my updated chart:
I’m on a roll!
Lastly, I gotta share my Food Logs, like I promised I would the other day. I didn’t do it yesterday, so I have two days to catch up on. Here they are:
Food Log for Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
–Breakfast: 2 packets instant grits; 1 big bunch of grapes
–Lunch: 1 fake chicken (Quorn) breast; assorted raw veggies (broccoli, cucumber, tomato slices), 2-3 tablespoons honey mustard salad dressing for dipping; 1 apple
–Dinner: 3 oz turkey jerky; 1 egg white; 1/2 cup pretzel crisps; 6 oz nonfat peach yogurt; 1 banana
–Beverages: 2 water bottles (64 ounces); 1 glass hot tea; 8 oz skim milk; 1.5 liters water; 1 liter sparkling water
Food Log for Thursday, March 17, 2011:
–Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled egg-whites; 1 apple; 1 banana; 8 oz orange juice
–Lunch: Big Salad (mixed greens, tomato, mushrooms, scallion, red pepper, sprouts, radishes, 2-3 tablespoons light vinaigrette); strawberries
–Snack: celery sticks; 8 ritz crackers w 1 tbsp peanut butter
–Dinner (Hugo’s Restaurant): The Power Of Green Salad: spinach, green chard, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp sherry vinaigrette dressing on the side.
–Beverages: 1 liter water; 2 water bottles (64 oz each); 8 oz skim milk; 3 glasses sparkling water; 1 liter water
Keep it up, David!