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Diet Soda – Not on a Nutrient Rich Diet

diet soda https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/5112629909Do you drink diet soda to replace sugar sweetened soda or juice drinks? Maybe you think the reduction in calories and carbs are worth the health risks associated with artificial sweeteners. There is always a lot of opinion and controversy around dietary issues, weighing the pros and cons of what we eat and drink.

Nutritional science continues to try to identify the pluses and minuses to various aspects of the modern diet, especially in relation to the current obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic. One question that comes up often is the value of diet soda on a weight loss diet. Some doctors even advise their patients to drink diet soda instead of soda’s and other drinks that contain sugar.

Will it Help You Lose Weight?

Although that advise would seem to make sense, a recent study showed that it doesn’t really work. Daily consumption of sugar sweetened drinks like regular soda’s, fruity flavored drinks, fruit cocktails, and specialty coffees and teas can definitely raise your blood sugar and make it difficult to lose weight. But this study shows that replacing these sugary drinks with artificially sweetened sodas, or even fruit juice, does not lead to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes or weight loss.

There are 2 common sense reasons for these results.

  1. Artificially sweetened drinks don’t contribute valuable nutrients to your diet
  2. Regular fruit juice is too concentrated, making it high in fructose

If you want to lose weight long term you have to focus on creating a nutrient rich diet. Cutting a few calories by switching to diet soda may work on a short term basis to shed a couple pounds, but overall it’s not an effective weight loss strategy. Diet soda is also not good for your teeth because of the citric acid which destroys tooth enamel.

The diet soda may actually make you feel less hungry in the moment, reducing your inclination to actually eat or drink something that’s good for you. It can also delude you into thinking that because you are reducing calories and sugar by drinking a diet soda you can afford to eat something else that’s higher in calories. The diet soda and a Big Mac syndrome.

Fruit is Nutritious, Right?

Fruit juice would seem like a nutritious choice, but only in very small quantities and not as a replacement for your daily liquid needs. Fruit is better eaten in its natural state because it contains fiber which helps regulate the digestion of fructose and fills you up faster. It takes 3 or 4 oranges to make one cup of juice and that’s way more fructose, calories and carbs than you need in a meal or a drink.

Fruit and berries are better consumed in limited amounts as a between meal snack, but paying close attention to your glucose tolerance by how it makes you feel. Combining fruit with other carbs such as bread, cereal or pastries can really spike your blood sugar, leading to cravings after your blood sugar falls. Low glycemic fruit and berries in moderation are recommended on a low carb diet because of their nutritional value, but not fruit juice because of its high concentration of fructose.

What Can I Drink?

fruit infused waterEveryone needs fluids and the best fluid is water, especially if you’re on a diet. However, if you’re used to drinking flavored drinks and water just doesn’t do the trick, try these alternatives:

  • Lemon or lime slices in your water
  • 2 or 3 oz. of juice in your 8 oz. glass of water
  • Use natural sparkling water in place of regular water
  • Unsweetened coffee or tea
  • Herbal teas

Visit the SugarDown Pinterest page for lots of ideas on refreshing ways to make fruit infused water.