The health problems that can be caused by sugary sodas are well known – weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, gout and dental problems, to name just a few. But that doesn’t stop many of us from drinking them. In fact, many kids consume more than 1,000 calories a day just from these sodas, and they form the single largest source of added sugars for most Americans today. However, although these sugary drinks might give us a short term boost, they are actually contributing to long term health problems.
You might think that switching from your sugary soda to a ‘diet’ soda might fix most of these problems. After all, it’s the sugar that is actually causing the problems, right? Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. Drinking diet sodas is a common mistake made by people trying out a low-sugar diet. What they don’t realize is that the contents of diet sodas are frequently just as unhealthy as their sugary counterparts.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you already know that excess sugar is a primary cause of Candida overgrowth. The Candida colonies in your gut need carbohydrates to reproduce and build their cell walls, and sugar is their favorite meal. But did you know that diet soda is no better? Research shows that the artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas will actually raise your blood sugar just as much as regular sugar.
In today’s post I’m going to look at some of the other reasons to avoid diet sodas. Everyone knows that sugary sodas are bad for your health, but this evidence should convince you that diet sodas are just as bad. Avoiding all sodas is a great step towards staying healthy and active throughout your life, as well as beating your Candida.
Diet sodas and tooth decay
A new report, just published in General Dentistry magazine, suggests that diet soda may be just as bad for your teeth as smoking crystal meth or crack cocaine.
If you thought that the lower sugar content in diet sodas made them less of a risk for your teeth, think again. It’s actually the acidity of the drink that does much of the damage, as it wears down the enamel that protects your teeth.
To prevent diet sodas from damaging your teeth, dentists suggest either rinsing your mouth with water immediately afterwards, chewing some xylitol gum to promote saliva production, or simply avoiding those sodas completely.
Diet sodas and weight gain
There is now significant evidence that diet sodas do just as much damage to our waistlines and long term health as regular sodas do. A 14 year study of ‘diet’ products found that artificially sweetened drinks actually led to more Type II Diabetes than sugary sodas. And animal studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can cause an increased appetite, slower metabolism and weight gain.
Just because a product is marketed as ‘diet’ does not automatically make it healthy. In fact, learning to interpret the doublespeak on food packaging is one of the first steps towards a healthy eating plan. ‘Low fat’ often means a high sugar content, and ‘low sugar’ usually indicates the presence of unhealthy sweeteners. Avoiding both added sugar and artificial sweeteners will improve your diet immeasurably.
Diet sodas and disease
As I mentioned above, there is a strong link between artificial sweeteners and conditions like diabetes and obesity. In fact, research has shown that the most popular sweetener in diet sodas (Aspartame) actually raises your blood sugar just as much as regular sugar. However, there have also been some disturbing links between Aspartame and other diseases.
A recent Italian study concluded that Aspartame “should be considered a multiple site, trans-species carcinogenic agent.” Other papers have suggested links to heart disease, learning problems, seizures and migraines.
Although giving up your diet sodas may not be easy at first, you will see the long term health benefits if you can manage it. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are notoriously addictive, so you might want to consider tapering off your diet soda consumption rather than quitting immediately. You may also experience cravings, but these will soon pass. Eliminate your dependency on diet sodas and your body will certainly thank you.