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Caring Medical &
Rehabilitation Services

Chicagoland office
715 Lake Street, Suite 600
Oak Park, IL 60301

Southwest Florida office
9738 Commerce
Center Court
Fort Myers, FL 33908

708.393.8266 Phone
855.779.1950 Fax

Diet Soda risks

Changing your diet for chronic pain relief

Marion Hauser, MS RD

Diet Coke is basically “chemical water.” As long as we are at it, we might as well throw all sodas into the chemical water category. Unfortunately, flavored creamers are also right up there loaded with chemicals and sugar. As much as we all like the taste of these types of beverages, they are just not good for us.

I was just talking to a patient today who said, “There is so much out there that is killing us pollution, chemicals, smog etc., how can we fight it?” I said to her, “All the more reason to control what we eat and choose the healthiest, most nutritious things to put into our bodies and to avoid all the junk.”

I don’t know about you, but I love to people watch. I am sure you see this or maybe YOU are one of these people? You see people walking away from the fast food restaurant having ordered a double cheeseburger with a large order of fries, but the person is drinking a humongous diet soda! Some how I think people feel that the zero-calorie “drano” can help all the fat, calories, and chemicals go down better and somehow compensate for the 1200 plus calories just ingested! Or you are in the movie theater with a huge bucket of movie theater popcorn loaded with fake butter, along with a ginormous diet soda.

How to stop drinking diet soda and still lose weight

Many justify regularly drinking diet soda as a way to cut calories and lose weight. For some it might work for a while, but in our experience, drinking diet soda actually increases your appetite, let alone is loaded with chemicals and questionable “toxic” non-caloric sweeteners. So long term, it is not only hazardous to your health, but to your waistline as well.

An article I read reports, “Americans are drinking lots of diet sodas – regular consumers average 27 ounces, or slightly more than 2 cans, daily, according to research.”

It pains me to see people eating so many “low calorie” “low sugar” “sugar free” cookies, yogurt, ice cream, and other products. This article goes on to say, “two recent studies found that being a diet soda junkie could actually put you at a higher risk for gaining weight. Normal weight people who drank 3 servings or more of diet soda a day, at least 21 weekly servings, were at almost double the risk for becoming overweight or obese after seven to eight years compared to people who skipped diet drinks, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. And people who consumed at least one daily serving of diet soda (versus none) were more likely to develop a high waist circumference, a condition linked with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study.”

At Caring Medical, we see patients who are addicted to diet products, especially sodas. Their taste buds are accustomed to a sweet taste versus a savory taste. As a result, we see that patients’ sugar cravings are immense, thus increasing hunger and food intake, leading to weight gain. Cravings for more high-calorie sweet foods increases, where intake of healthier savory foods such as vegetables and whole grains declines. One of the things we try to teach our Hauser Diet patients is to try to re-train their taste receptors to enjoy savory versus sweet. It can be done, but it takes an effort.

That being said, we encourage you to not only give up sodas, but coffee creamers as well!

10 substitutes for diet soda

1. Plain filtered water: We find that water with ice is more refreshing and tastes better. Throw in a lemon, lime, or orange slice for flavor.

2. Plain filtered water with a splash of fruit juice: If you just can’t take plain water, add about 1/4 fresh juice, the rest water.

3. Mineral or sparkling water: (but not the ones with added sweetener) There are many choices out there for these and they can be quite tasty, again with a lemon/lime slice. You can even make your own at home which is much more cost-effective.

4. Sun tea: We love making our own iced tea, then adding fresh lemon for added zip. If you don’t want to make sun tea, boil some hot water on the stove, add a few tea bags, steep, refrigerate.

5. Black coffee hot or cold: Even with a one teaspoon of “brown” natural sugar, you’re better off. Nothing like a good iced coffee!

6. Soy or almond milk: Add a shot or two of espresso and you’ve got a nice drink. If you have a frother, froth your milk and mix with the coffee. Just heated milk works wonders as well. Like it cold? Pour over ice and you have a delicious iced coffee drink.

7. Herbal teas:  There are so many tea flavors available now – the sky’s the limit!  Passion fruit is a great choice and it is sold as a cold drink at one of the local coffee shops around here. It’s great and doesn’t even need sweetener. Make your own at home, ice it. YUM. We love to brew the loose leaf tea from Todd and Hollands, a local tea market, as well.

8. Homemade lemonade:  Water, fresh lemon juice, and a little sugar (not alot). Ice it, add lemons. Yum.

9. Herbal water:  sparkling water and add fresh ginger, mint, or basil. May sound weird,but it’s very refreshing!

10. Veggie water: And finally for those veggie fans, adding some chopped cucumbers or celery to plain water can make for a very refreshing drink. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!

Never underestimate the power of food on your health!

Remember, you are what you eat and food (and drink) can have very powerful effects on your health – in a positive or negative manner. You can change your habits if you make the effort. It will be worth it! Go for it, your health depends on it!

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