Many of us have heard others say that they’re drinking diet soda because either they are on a diet or want to consume less sugar. While it’s true that diet sodas have zero calories and contain a sweetener which has less of an impact than sugar; in the end, this beverage still has no nutritional value.
Mary Squillace (2013) notes the various side-effects of consuming diet sodas:
- Confusing your body – dulling our senses to natural sweeteners
- Leading to weight gain, not weight loss
- An association with an increased risk of type II diabetes
- No nutritional value
- Causing headaches
- Ruining your teeth
- An association with depression
- Being bad for bones
- Increasing risk of heart issues
The favored sweetener in many diet sodas (and many foods) is aspartame which is made primarily of aspartic acid and phenylalanine, both of which are chemically synthesized. Aspartic acid is created in a process that contains aspartase, fumaric acid, and ammonia (L-aspartase, 2004). Yep, you read that right: ammonia. Same thing used to make fertilizer, produce industrial cleaners, and etch aluminum.
Phenylalanine can be created by three different processes: from PTS-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) bioengineered strains, commercially isolated from proteins, and fermentation from carbohydrates (L-phenylalanine, 2004).
I realize that there are negative ingredients in most everything we eat and drink these days and that’s due to the mass production of food to make it last longer, taste fresher, and look more appealing. If you really want a soda, you’re practically better off drinking the regular one that doesn’t contain the aspartame and cut your calories and sugar elsewhere. What’s even better is that the alternative to soda is endless; there are carbonated fruit drinks, coconut water, fruit juice, good ole’ water, and so on.
By this point you must think that I’m a total tree-hugger and only drink desalinized dolphin tears. Quite the contrary, I use to love cola and would drink a can with lunch and dinner daily for years. I don’t recall what made me quit but the last time I drank some, I thought it was going to peel the enamel off my teeth. Now I only drink water, tea and the occasional soda when I’m feeling nostalgic or can’t find a dolphin.
If you do decide to switch back to regular soda or quit drinking it all together, I recommend doing so gradually as you can experience caffeine withdrawal and other symptoms which are not fun by any means.
Until next time, discover the power of knowing more and making informed decisions.
L-aspartase acid. (2004, September 16). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/L-aspartic_acid#section=Top.
L-phenylalanine. (2004, September 16). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/6140#section=Top.
Squillace, M. (2013, October 29). 10 Reasons to give up on diet soda. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/10/29/10-reasons-to-give-up-diet-soda/