Friday, November 5, 2010
Kicking the habit of diet soda
Yes, folks, for the past five or six years this has been my drink of choice. I drink a lot of these. We're talking at least one 2-liter bottle per day - by myself. Now, I know soda isn't good for me but I rationalized that it's not that bad. After all, it's a diet drink so it doesn't have any calories. And it could be a lot worse, right? I could be addicted to those energy drinks or to alcohol. A diet soda should be harmless.
Then my kids heard from somewhere or another that diet drinks contain aspartame, which can cause cancer. For the past couple of years, at least once or twice a day, I heard from one or the other of my boys that I should stop drinking diet soda because I was going to get cancer. I'm not a smoker - it's just a soda! Geez! But oddly enough - just like a smoker - I would try to quit. I would do okay for a few days, then I would go back to my crutch.
About three weeks ago I decided to try to kick the habit for good. I've done pretty well thus far. I haven't purchased or accepted a can or a 2-liter at all. I did go through a few days of headaches and grouchiness due to caffeine withdrawal. Did you know that caffeine withdrawal is now a recognized mental disorder, according to this CBS News article? But I digress.
I haven't been perfect. I still pick up a 16-ounce sometimes when I am out on the road. But I am doing much, much better. And I'm glad I am. A Mayo Clinic nutritionist pointed out that, "Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may save you calories, some studies suggest that drinking more than one soda a day — regular or diet — increases your risk of obesity and related health problems such as type 2 diabetes."
Last year an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association discussed studies that show how artificially sweetened beverages like diet sodas are a definite cause for concern. Among other things, the article by Harvard professor Dr. David Ludwig cited studies that show that diet sodas may actually cause weight gain.
And experts at Duke University Health System are now pointing toward research that shows links between diet soda consumption and osteoporosis, as well as metabolic syndrome.
The biggest problem with quitting my diet soda addiction was the question of replacing it with something else. In the end I decided water was the best way to go. So ice water has been the key, folks. Three weeks and going strong. Water doesn't have much flavor but maybe that's what I need. Getting away from the familiar taste of those artificial sweeteners is probably a good thing. And if I really need some flavor I could always add a squeeze of lemon or lime. So goodbye saccharine, aspartame and all that other fake stuff. Hello, clean, clear water!