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Diet Sodas: Dangers and Health Issues

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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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