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Diet Sodas: Dangers and Health Issues

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Diet Sodas: Dangers and Health Issues

When the “no-cal” or no calorie soft drink first appeared in the 50s, it was a lucrative business for soft drink companies. Originally, “diet” sodas were targeted towards women, but now they are one of the most common beverages — with one-fifth of the U.S. population drinking them on any given day. However, recent studies have indicated that “diet” sodas aren’t really the answer to a healthy diet after all. So the debate continues: Is diet soda really any better than regular soda?

What’s In a Diet Soda?

Regular sodas are notorious for their high content of sugar or corn syrup. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended amount of added sugars are:

  • Men: 150 calories per day
  • Women: 100 calories per day

Health experts always recommend eliminating soda consumption, especially if one is diabetic. Fitness gurus don’t even acknowledge sodas on their turf. Hence, the idea of switching to “diet” sodas appeared to be the key to drinking without worrying about your waistline. However, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas (aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesfulfame-k, sucralose) may dissuade you from drinking further.

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Diet Soda Can Cause You To Crave More Sugar

“Research shows that sweet taste can increase appetite and the regular consumption of the high intensity sweetness of artificial sweeteners may encourage sugar craving and dependence.” –CNN diet and fitness expert Dr. Melina Jampolis

It may sound attractive — all components of sugar being replaced with artificial sweeteners — but this fake sugar can confuse your body into craving more sugar. When our body is designed to break down sugar, but is instead supplied with fake contents, it becomes confused as to how to respond.

Frequent consumption of diet soda can hold a risk of causing our body to become unresponsive when a person consumes real sugar. It is said artificial sweeteners are now modified with such intense flavoring that real sugar no longer meets our bodies’ physiological expectations; in other words, our bodies don’t release the hormones needed to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

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“Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and leads to weight gain.” —Brooke Alpert, RD author of The Sugar Detox

Type 2 Diabetes

When a study was conducted in Europe to determine the risk of type 2 diabetes with diet beverage consumption, a high number of participants were found to be prone to type 2 diabetes.

Another study, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that diet drinks were just as dangerous (if not more dangerous) than regular soda products if consumed on a daily basis. This was a 14 year study of 66,118 women that shows some daunting evidence.

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  • Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes
  • Regular drinkers of 12 ounces of diet soda had a 33 percent risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Drinkers of 20 ounces of diet soda drinkers had a 66 percent risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Women who drank diet sodas actually drank twice as much compared to those who drank sugar-sweetened sodas
  • On average, diet soda drinkers consumed 3 diet drinks a day

According to these studies, diet sodas are shown to increase sugar cravings, leading to weight gain. What’s even scarier is they are highly addictive.

Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack

In 2009, the University of Miami conducted research that concluded that people who drank diet sodas on a daily basis were at risk of stroke and heart attack.

“We had a strong bias for conducting the study, as other diet soda studies have suggest an association between diabetes, weight gain, coronary heart disease and other ailments, but we were surprised to find the strength of the results.” –Hannah Gardener, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Even one diet soft drink a day could increase your risk of having a stroke, heart attack or vascular death. 43 percent were likely to experience a vascular event.

Of course, this goes with regular soda drinkers as well, but the importance here is that the reactions followed by drinking diet sodas are found to be more harmful to our bodies.

No Nutritional Value

Sugar in limited amounts is good for our body. But considering how diet drinkers prefer diet sodas because they are “safe”, there is great potential for damage. Diet sodas have no nutritional value whatsoever. Additionally, since diet sodas contain caffeine and caffeine is diuretic, your frequent trips to the bathroom can lead to dehydration which leads to dizziness, headaches and heart problems.

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With nothing beneficial to the body, and the fact that these drinks actually trick the body, diet sodas are simply a can of worms.

Featured photo credit: tales of a wandering youkai via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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