Are diet drinks ok to drink?

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    Dec 17, 2007 12:01 PM GMT
    I have read different studies quoting that even people that drink diet drinks are prone to be overweight compared to people that do not drink them and follow a nutrition and workout program. If the sugar and caloric count on these diet drinks are 0 then what is the harm in drinking them?
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    Dec 17, 2007 4:58 PM GMT
    redbull,

    i think one problem is that people compensate for the drink. "I can have that piece of chocolate cake since i'm having diet soda"

    I drink diet soda, but it's a small part of my nutrition program. I actually prefer flavored seltzers, but can't get those when i'm out dining.
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    Dec 17, 2007 5:03 PM GMT
    I am not knowledgeable about this topic at all but isn't one of the major issues the fact that soda (diet or not) is a processed rather than whole-food beverage? I am more or less a food snob and never developed a taste for soda (except for root beer or cream soda when I am a a good deli), and I can say that all soda seems the same to me - nasty, sticky sweet, dehydrating - regardless of whether it's diet or not. As someone on the outside of the soda world, I cannot imagine either diet or non-diet pop being anything but totally empty calories.
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    Dec 17, 2007 5:04 PM GMT
    Also part of it is the type of sweetener they use. Nutrasweet, or aspartame, has been shown in studies to increase appetite.
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    Dec 17, 2007 5:12 PM GMT
    The leave an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth so I avoid them as well as sodas in general
  • MikemikeMike

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    Dec 17, 2007 5:15 PM GMT
    The few times a year I drink soda/pop whatever u want to call it. I want the real thing. The only diet soda I ever drank that didn't taste bad was diet Barq's root beer. Have at it!
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    Dec 17, 2007 5:52 PM GMT
    Diet Coke = Death

    28516079_34d678dc15.jpg?v=0
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Dec 17, 2007 6:07 PM GMT
    LOL@Rugger!!! That's priceless. (nice yard too, btw)

    Redbull: there are studies proving that some caffeine prior to working out can be helpful. Granted, there is a mild diuretic effect, but hey the human body is very good at telling you if you need more fluids. (I can get technical, but suffice it to say just listen to your thirst.)

    The downside is that there are also studies showing that diet drinks tend to promote increased carbohydrate consumption and subsequent weight gain, presumably due to the drinker developing a fondness for sweeter tasting food and drink.

    Like anything, I think it's key to know what you're doing, and know yourself as well. Personally I enjoy coffee and an occasional Diet Redbull, but I'm not gonna go crazy.
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    Dec 17, 2007 6:08 PM GMT
    was that your twin brother that died? If so, I am so sorry.
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    Dec 17, 2007 7:57 PM GMT
    Oh no... We lost one of Austin's finest icon_cry.gif

    To fitnfunmich's point And mind you this is purely my own fractured explanation, so excuse any false biological information...

    Though there is no sugar in diet drinks, the sweetness activates the same triggers as sugar does, causing you to want to eat sweeter foods. Usually this means drinking more soda.

    I find that when I drink diet coke, I tend to drink less water. That coupled with the dehydrating effects, makes soda a nasty beverage.

    Plus it is corrosive and killed Rugger.
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    Dec 17, 2007 8:02 PM GMT
    redbull saidI have read different studies quoting that even people that drink diet drinks are prone to be overweight compared to people that do not drink them and follow a nutrition and workout program. If the sugar and caloric count on these diet drinks are 0 then what is the harm in drinking them?


    The toxic artificial sweeteners, for one. Nutrasweet is not good for you and Splenda is even worse. Soda also causes your body to leach minerals from your bones:

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Soda/Soft-Drinks-Do-Not-Hydrate-Your-Body&id=362261

    "If you look at any soda label you will note many have phosphoric acid at approximately, 2.8 pH (very acidic) a soda triggers a massive emergency calcium (alkaline) flush to balance the acid. The body is safe at 7.3 pH to 7.4 pH, which means you are putting something into your body that is hundred of thousands of times more acidic that your body is! Diseases flourish in an acidic environment. Soft Drinks and other acidic food deposit acid waste in the body which accumulates over time in the joints and around the organs. For example, the Body pH of cancer or arthritis patients are always low. The sicker the person, the lower the Body pH. Don't ever use Soft Drink when you are sick with a cold, flu or something worse. It will only make it that much harder for your body to fight the illness."

    Another interesting tidbit from the article:

    "Last, but not least, Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illness. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame, that's 80% of all complaints about food additives."

    Read the article.
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    Dec 17, 2007 8:17 PM GMT
    Soda/Diet soda = the Brown Waters of Capitalismicon_evil.gif

    Once people drank pure natural water bubbling down from the mountains in streams, they ate fresh fruits hanging from trees, vegetables that grew in the ground. They frolicked happily and freely about the land.
    Capitalism evolved and people had to work, to trade their labor for money to buy products on shelves which were processed and bad for them, No more could they drink the waters in the streams, or eat the fruit from the trees, or the vegetables from the ground. Now they had to drink the beverages from bottles, the fruit from cans, the the vegetables from the freezer section. They no longer had time for happy frolicking for they had to labor to produce products which were not as good for them as what they once had in abundance.

    and besides, it killed Rugger!
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    Dec 17, 2007 9:49 PM GMT
    I can say that I can't drink diet sodas as they give me great headaches. If something can do that to my sensitive brain, it's probably not good for anyone.
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    Dec 17, 2007 10:06 PM GMT
    Well, some of those studies, redbull, could have some problems. For one, perhaps those that are overweight and drink diet soda are not overweight BECAUSE of the diet soda, but perhaps they drink more diet soda because they are attempting to lose weight.

    That said, I still think it deserves more research. Diet soda may have 0 calories, but artifical sweeteners may have an adverse effect on energy conservation methods of the body, etc. Has anyone ever heard of such studies? I just speculated hardcore, so let me know lol. I'm curious, myself.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Dec 18, 2007 12:21 AM GMT
    Highsierrahiker said: "Nutrasweet is not good for you and Splenda is even worse."

    I suspect much of that statement is based more on sensationalism and less on evidence. Aspartame (Nutrasweet) has some speculative and anecdotal issues as you mentioned, but most have not been replicated in any study.

    Splenda is quite elegant in fact--they simply substituted three hydrogen ions on the sucrose (sugar) molecule and replaced them with chloride ions. This allows it to taste as sweet as sugar, but since the chloride ions are much larger than the hydrogen ions, the amylase (enzyme which breaks it down) can't squeeze in there to break the bonds. So it's not absorbed, meaning it has zero effective calories.

    There is nothing dangerous in that. Chloride is present all over the body and occurs naturally--most notably with sodium (which we know as table salt.)

    So yeah, there are reasons to not consume diet drinks, but the "toxic chemical" argument is bunk.
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    Dec 18, 2007 5:05 PM GMT
    I get headaches from diet drinks as well.

    I reccommend seltzer or mineral water plus some fruit juice or nectar (about a 3:1 ratio) for a soda fix. Add a packet of stevia to the juice of you crave soft-drink sweetness.
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    Dec 18, 2007 5:14 PM GMT
    fitnfunmich saidHighsierrahiker said: "Nutrasweet is not good for you and Splenda is even worse."

    So yeah, there are reasons to not consume diet drinks, but the "toxic chemical" argument is bunk.


    Sorry, but I don't agree. There are a lot of questions about Splenda. And, just because modern science says it's okay, that doesn't mean much to me these days. We're so overly medicated as a society. We take drugs for everything. And then we take drugs for the side-effects of other drugs. We eat crap. Artificial everything. Twenty years ago, 1 in 10,000 kids was born autistic. Today it is 1 in 150. 2/3 of the country is obese. Etc.

    The writing is on the wall. Look at how many drugs are pulled off the market every year for safety concerns. If you really want to put this kind of crap into your body, that's your choice. And, if you believe that it's doing no harm, again, your choice. But that won't convince me that it's safe and harmless either.

    If you want an alternative to sugar, there's Agave. Low glycemic and very tasty. Xylitol has virtually no calories or carbs and tastes nearly as good as sugar. Or, you can continue pumping chemicals into your body and see where that gets you.
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    Dec 18, 2007 5:22 PM GMT
    About Splenda:

    http://www.womentowomen.com/nutritionandweightloss/splenda.aspx

    "The FDA has no definition for “natural,” so please bear with us for a biochemistry moment: Splenda is the trade name for sucralose, a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. It is true that the Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms. (To get a better picture of what this looks like, see this image of a sucralose molecule.)

    While some industry experts claim the molecule is similar to table salt or sugar, other independent researchers say it has more in common with pesticides. That’s because the bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons. The premise offered next is that just because something contains chlorine doesn’t guarantee that it’s toxic. And that is also true, but you and your family may prefer not to serve as test subjects for the latest post-market artificial sweetener experiment — however “unique.” (See our article on endocrine disruptors for more information on toxins and persistent organic pollutants.)"

    http://www.redicecreations.com/specialreports/sucralose.html

    "Research in animals has shown that sucralose can cause many problems in rats, mice, and rabbits, such as:

    Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)
    Enlarged liver and kidneys.
    Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus
    Increased cecal weight
    Reduced growth rate
    Decreased red blood cell count
    Hyperplasia of the pelvis
    Extension of the pregnancy period
    Aborted pregnancy
    Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights
    Diarrhea"

    Of course, you may choose to believe that all of this stuff is ill-informed scare-mongering. Or you can just eat food the way nature intended it. Why we need to come up with artificial everything instead of just exercising some self-control is beyond me.


  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Dec 18, 2007 6:36 PM GMT
    Curious that a molecule that cannot be absorbed into the body can supposedly cause so many nasty problems...

    Now the Xylitol that you mentioned sure can: namely gas and diarrhea. Same with Olestra (the non-absorbed fat substitute that they used to use in the Wow potato chips.)

    Look, I'm all in favor of natural stuff too. Prefer to minimize medications as well. All about eating a healthy diet with lots of raw fruits and veggies, and I even try to buy organic, hormone-free beef and eggs.

    But I think it's important to keep an open mind, and not label everything natural as good and artificial as bad. That's not how life works, my friend.
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    Dec 18, 2007 6:55 PM GMT
    fitnfunmich saidCurious that a molecule that cannot be absorbed into the body can supposedly cause so many nasty problems...

    Now the Xylitol that you mentioned sure can: namely gas and diarrhea. Same with Olestra (the non-absorbed fat substitute that they used to use in the Wow potato chips.)


    Well, I'm not terribly keen on ingesting something that "cannot be absorbed into the body." As for Xylitol, yes, in HIGH doses, it can cause gas and diarrhea. However, it's natural and not cooked up in some lab like Splenda and Olestra.

    By all means, eat as many chemicals and preservatives and artificial whatever as you like. However, nothing is going to convince me that such substances are GOOD for the body. The agri/pharma industrial complex loves it. The more crap we eat, the more meds we buy so that we can eat more crap and take more meds. Brilliant! Cancer rates are soaring, birth defects are high, autism is everywhere...but it couldn't possibly be our lifestyle, could it? There's no way it's the food we're eating or the thousands of chemicals we're exposed to every day...

    Like I said, the writing is on the wall.
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    Dec 18, 2007 7:02 PM GMT
    The long term effects of natural substances have already been observed over centuries of use. The long term effects of things synthesized by humans have rarely been observed, simply because not enough time has passed.

    This is why I shy away from human-synthesized products as much as possible. We don't need these things anyway. They're just a result of our species-unique laziness (and thus marketed as "convenient").

    I don't see the benefit of consuming anything that simply passes through me. Besides, when something simply passes through you does that mean it is necessarily safe? Doesn't it somehow impact our natural filters (liver and kidneys)? Maybe one of our doc/biological RJers can shed light.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Dec 18, 2007 7:28 PM GMT
    No Rugger, just because something passes thru you does not mean that it's harmless. In fact this is one theory regarding colon cancers (which are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men & women above the age of 50.)

    But I'm simply trying to point out that the idea that all natural molecules are great and all artificial ones are dangerous is not always reasonable.

    Diet drinks were created because people wanted them. They want to remain hydrated but don't want all the calories from sugar. Is it crazy? Maybe.

    Funny thing tho: for all you synthetic-phobes out there, I wonder how many of you use plastics on a daily basis? Do you ever wear polyester or nylon or rayon in your clothes? Do you have carpet in your homes? Do you grow your own food so that you are sure it is pesticide free?

    How far do you take it?

    I think we should take reasonable precautions for our safety, but I'm not about to live in a cave like some troglodyte for fear of everything around me.

    (p.s. I am an M.D. so let me know if you have any other technical medical questions, and I'll try to answer as unbiasedly as I can.)
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    Dec 18, 2007 7:44 PM GMT
    fitnfun:

    I wasn't necesarrily responding to your post. But to answer you...

    I take it as far as being cautious of what I ingest. We're still talking about artificial compounds in food, right?

    But to indulge your need to point out hypocrisy (all humans are hypocrites, btw), yes, I have a carpet. I sometimes reuse plastic shopping bags to take out the trash. I usually only wear natural fibers, but I'm sure I'm not 100% consistent.

    I suppose all these habits completely invalidate any feelings I have about artificial sweeteners right?

    Slippery slope arguments are always laughable, and frankly a major cop-out. I would hope that someone as educated as an M.D. would be a little smarter than resorting to the slippery slope approach.
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    Dec 18, 2007 7:48 PM GMT
    fitnfunmich saidDiet drinks were created because people wanted them. They want to remain hydrated but don't want all the calories from sugar. Is it crazy? Maybe.


    Try good old fashioned water. :-)

    fitnfunmich saidFunny thing tho: for all you synthetic-phobes out there, I wonder how many of you use plastics on a daily basis? Do you ever wear polyester or nylon or rayon in your clothes? Do you have carpet in your homes? Do you grow your own food so that you are sure it is pesticide free?


    I avoid plastics as much as possible. Very hard to do in our society, though. I especially avoid them for food storage. And no Teflon!!!!!!!

    As for synthetic fibers, my workout and hiking clothes, of course, use them and it does bother me. But I use them anyway...until something better comes along. No carpet!!! Carpet is a bacterial sponge. Nasty!!! I'd like to grow my own food and am looking into adding a greenhouse to my home next summer.

    I agree with you that we cannot live in fear, hiding in a cave somewhere. But the past 100 years has seen such a rapid acceleration in technology that we haven't paid too much attention to the details. Like Rugger said, there's no long-term data on most of this stuff.

    There are so many chemicals and synthetics in use today that we can't possibly know how they all interact with each other. And, given that all of this stuff is driven by corporations looking to make a profit, there's little incentive to prioritize public health. A lot of things today concern me. Our own hubris is going to kill us.
  • fitnfunmich

    Posts: 181

    Dec 18, 2007 7:58 PM GMT
    Ok I'm impressed. I grow a few things, but in Michigan our growing season isn't what I would like. (YAAY for global warming up here though!! KIDDING!)

    I agree about water, but I guess it gets boring to some people, and I also agree that there are many potential dangerous substances out there which could have consequences.

    But modern society has had more benefits than liabilities. Our life-expectancy has increased dramatically, infant mortality is a scarcity compared to 100 year ago, and overall quality of life is so much better too. So you have to look at the big picture, and make the most reasonable choices you can.

    I believe in getting a good night's sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding the worst offenders like cigarette smoke.

    I do have a weakness for the Sun however even though I know too much of it is bad for me...so being up here in dark and depressing Michigan might be good for me! LOL