I’ve got to be honest, I am that person.
You know, that person, the one who orders diet coke with a pizza. The sad reality is, I don’t even enjoy the drink that much but it probably felt like the right choice at the time. I’m delighted that the lovely Chloe from ‘Running with science’ has taking the time to write me a guest post and share why we really should ‘ditch that diet coke‘.
My name is Chloe and I’m a PhD student from London. I love running and I love eating. I try to do both as much and as fast as possible. I am really enjoying learning more about the science behind health and fitness and trying to use that science to improve my own health and wellbeing. I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. C x
Ditch that Diet Coke
I am an addict. I am completely and utterly addicted to Diet Coke and pretty much all other diet drinks and I love nothing more than a cold and refreshing can after a stressful day at work. Having been in the States for the last 2 months I have been drinking them more than ever and I’ve started to suspect that they aren’t good for me. I mean, how can something be so sweet and taste so great but have no calories and 0g of sugar? And when you can barely read the ingredients on the label you know you’re better off staying clear of the stuff.
All these diet drinks and foods are sweetened with synthetically made chemicals which mimic sugar. They tend to be far sweeter than table sugar (Sucrose), which is what keeps us going back for more. The most common, and controversial, artificial sweetener is Aspartame.
If you have a quick google you will see that Aspartame has been shown in multiple studies to be linked to tumorigenesis (cancer)! Despite this, the research hasn’t conclusively proven that it is a direct carcinogen and so the FDA and EFSA have yet to ban the chemical.
But that’s not all. Aside from the increased risk of cancer, people who consume diet drinks regularly are statistically more likely to be overweight. This could be due to a number of factors. One being that when we think we are making healthy choices we often allow ourselves to compensate in other ways. “I can have this cookie, I went to the gym this morning” or “I can eat some ice-cream tonight, I’ve only drank Diet coke all day”. Sound familiar?
Another reason is that consuming these ‘fake sugars’ upsets the bacteria living in our gut. The bugs in our gut are responsible for helping us digest food and have a huge impact on our health and well being. Consuming artificial sweeteners can alter the environment in your gut and the type of microbes that are able to live there. Prolonged exposure to artificial sweeteners can in turn lead to glucose intolerance which is the first step towards metabolic syndrome and ultimately Diabetes.
Whilst we are all well aware that we should be eating fresh, wholesome, nutritious foods as much as possible, the promise of a guilt-free joy such as a cold Diet coke is often too much to resist. But perhaps now that we know the full extent of the harm it can be doing us we won’t be so quick to turn to this dangerous concoction. But if I can kick the habit, you can too.
Sidenote: As I write this I’ve just schlurped down a delicious banana, mint and blueberry smoothie and my tummy is very happy and much healthier.
So tell me, is diet coke a weakness for you? What would you order instead?