People who are concerned about keeping in shape are sensitive to calories. Constantly checking the nutrition labels on food products and miniscule numbers printed on restaurant menus, we all consciously try to restrict our calorie intake. A diet soda, with fewer calories but the same degree of sweetness as the original, can seem like a great solution to our diet dilemmas, especially when calorie-intake seems to grow in direct proportion tastiness.
However, diet sodas may not be as attractive as you think; with fewer calories comes greater compromise to your health. Although diet sodas have been removed of sugar, which can cause obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other types of diseases when taken in excess, they are loaded with artificial sweeteners. These substances do not have any calories, but can produce up to 200 times the level of sweetness that sugar has, which explains why it is used so commonly in the production of diet sodas.
This excessively sweet character of artificial sweeteners is the one that causes unexpected detrimental effects on our bodies. Although they are clearly distinct substances from sugar, the receptors in our digestive organs react to them in the same way. The receptors get activated, absorb more sugar, and in the end make you crave for more sugar. Simply put: your body becomes more and more tolerant to sugar, and you end up eating much more sugar than you did before.
There are some psychological effects as well. Research results have demonstrated discouraging results: people who drank diet sodas were likely to intake more calories from other kinds of food than people who did not. Why? Because you justify your act of eating more food with the fact that you drank a ‘diet’ soda instead of a normal, high-calorie one.
Perhaps they are called ‘diet sodas’ not because they help you with your diet, but rather because they necessitate a future diet. If you are really concerned about keeping in shape or more importantly, maintaining your health, drink water instead.
By Minh Joo Yi