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Addiction to Diet Sodas - How Bad Are They


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Today's NY Times has an article entitled I Was Powerless Over Diet Coke, and subtitled:

 

After almost 40 years as a diet-soda addict, my body suddenly started to reject my favorite feel-good companion.

 

So when I see someone post something along the lines of 

 

Quote

 

I have to wonder. From the article:

 

Quote

... in a 2007 study where laboratory rats were forced to choose between saccharin and cocaine, 94 percent of them chose the noncaloric sweetener — even if they had showed signs of dependence on the cocaine.

 

And it goes on:

 

Quote

 

What makes it so hard to quit?

Dr. Gearhardt points to two culprits: aspartame and caffeine. Or, to be more precise: addiction to sweetness and to caffeine. Individually, they’re bad; together, they’re an addict’s nightmare.

A 12-ounce can of regular Coke has 34 milligrams of caffeine, whereas Diet Coke has 11 milligrams more, according to Coca-Cola. (An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 95 mg.) Artificial sweeteners activate the brain’s reward system, but only about half as much as regular sugar, said Dr. Peeke. Faux sugar doesn’t pack the same wallop as the real stuff, so it keeps you wanting more and more.

Not only is this tied to weight gain, especially in the belly, but it also leaves you with cravings. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Serious drinkers are so used to the super-sweet taste that everything else seems bland in comparison.

 

 

I know sugar is bad, salt is bad, drugs are bad. But boy - this article makes artificial sweeteners sound like all of them mixed together!

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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This has been tossed about for so so long. First the types of artificial sweeteners that gave lab rats cancer then all the caffeine issues and various new sweeteners. As with many things, amount consumed makes a difference. In the beginning the diet sodas were seen as a miracle - have your fix w/o calories. Then the studies came out that the sweetness still makes you crave sugar generally. Oops. I know 2 longtime recovering alcoholics (like you are dying dude) who would not have made it without the diet sodas. One was12 Diet Pepsis a day, the other a liter of it after work through the evening. Most talented carpenter I've ever worked with = gave lessons to Morphosis.  First is off it now - switched to unsweetened tea. Like booze and cigarettes it is that oral fixation. What is that phrase "pick your poison"?  Out and about on the hottest of days with limited options I'll have one with crushed ice every couple years. Caffeine does nothing for me. Every body is different.

Edited by heidih (log)
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The arguments all are based on correlation with use and incidence of diseases. 

 

But correlation does not translate into causation. Too many confounding factors. 

 

 

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From that NYT article: 

Quote

And let’s be clear: Caffeine-free soda is pointless.

How much of that diet soda addiction is due to caffeine alone?  My brother is surely addicted to diet Mt. Dew and I have a cousin addicted to diet iced tea but how about diet sodas w/o caffeine? 

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27 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

From that NYT article: 

How much of that diet soda addiction is due to caffeine alone?  My brother is surely addicted to diet Mt. Dew and I have a cousin addicted to diet iced tea but how about diet sodas w/o caffeine? 


Excellent point - me, I fear I am addicted to water. No day goes by without, getting classical withdrawal symptoms (dry mouth, headaches, dizziness) if I don’t drink for a while and fear I would die if I go a few days completely without …

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51 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

From that NYT article: 

How much of that diet soda addiction is due to caffeine alone?  My brother is surely addicted to diet Mt. Dew and I have a cousin addicted to diet iced tea but how about diet sodas w/o caffeine? 

 

I don't know if I understand this.

 

21 minutes ago, Duvel said:


Excellent point - me, I fear I am addicted to water. No day goes by without, getting classical withdrawal symptoms (dry mouth, headaches, dizziness) if I don’t drink for a while and fear I would die if I go a few days completely without …

 

But the difference is that you actually can't live without water, no? So we're all addicted to it, as we are oxygen.

 

Remember, this is one person's story in the newspaper. With some additional info based on various research projects. 

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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13 minutes ago, weinoo said:

But the difference is that you actually can't live without water, no? So we're all addicted to it, as we are oxygen.


😉

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Mountain Dew regular and diet has more caffeine than Coke, Why the commercials used to show it waking a person up I think. Ya hoo-Mountain Dew  @Kim Shook input please!  Caffeine aside I am still in the oral loop camp; maybe cuz caffeine does not affect me and based solely on personal observation re soda guzzlers.

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3 hours ago, Duvel said:


Excellent point - me, I fear I am addicted to water. No day goes by without, getting classical withdrawal symptoms (dry mouth, headaches, dizziness) if I don’t drink for a while and fear I would die if I go a few days completely without …

 

It can kill you.

 

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RE: Mt. Dew - I don't doubt that artificial sweeteners are worse for you than the sugar.  I drink them because I have diabetes and I drink so much (too much) during the day to feel comfortable drinking the full sugar version.  That said, I would MUCH rather have the full sugar and can happily give up the diet kind when it isn't available (i.e. our trip to England/Paris in 2011 - no diet Dew, but plenty of hi-test.  I was in heaven).  

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The only soda I drink is diet ginger ale. I cut all caffeine out of my diet and I used to live off Diet Coke. It exacerbates my anxiety. Everything I drink is diet except seltzer which I drink a lot of and obviously water and wine. 

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Diet Coke for me (Significant Eater used to be a can a day person, but stopped) is only when I used to eat lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Goes well with all the sodium.

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I can’t abide sweet drinks, non-alcohol   or cocktails.   I used to like Tab but the maker killed it.   I actually prefer still water to seltzer.  I start the day with two or three cups of strong coffee cut with milk and end it with a tad or so of wine.    No soft drinks ever.

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19 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

I can’t abide sweet drinks, non-alcohol   or cocktails.   I used to like Tab but the maker killed it.   I actually prefer still water to seltzer.  I start the day with two or three cups of strong coffee cut with milk and end it with a tad or so of wine.    No soft drinks ever.

Oh Tab - as high school freshmen we did not eat lunch (dieting years)  but lived on Tab and sunflower seeds. The salt/sugar balance ya know. The loss of both Tab and Fresca (glass bottle only) was traumatic.

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45 minutes ago, heidih said:

Oh Tab - as high school freshmen we did not eat lunch (dieting years)  but lived on Tab and sunflower seeds. The salt/sugar balance ya know. The loss of both Tab and Fresca (glass bottle only) was traumatic.

Southern girls diet lunch: Tab and a packet of Nabs! 😁

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

Oh Tab - as high school freshmen we did not eat lunch (dieting years)  but lived on Tab and sunflower seeds. The salt/sugar balance ya know. The loss of both Tab and Fresca (glass bottle only) was traumatic.

 

I have a friend who can still score cases of Tab.

I contend that its no good since they took out the cyclamate sweetener.

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17 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Peanuts in a bottle of co-cola?

I know that you know it is those peanut butter (well pretending) on crackers in the packet. Our West Coast version used a cheese cracker like  Cheese Nips. One horrid morning I had a packet with a swig of Crown Royal before facing a crazy judge (the kind who kept a gun in his bench drawer. Figured the cracker would keep me from upchucking as we rose.

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15 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

end it with a tad or so of wine

Good for you Margaret. I love 'a tad'. An indefinite quantity north of zero but subjectively definable. My great aunt used to enjoy 'a spot' of sherry well into her 90s. Think large brimming glass. Cheers.

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'Soda' is certainly one of the larger contributing factors to many health issues in the United States.  Unreal that people have still not caught on.  Scary that governments still allow it.  But then again, big pharma would not have it any other way!

 

Only 'soda' I ever have these days (see; once or twice a year) is Ting or Brio - and the mood must really strike!

 

 

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I have an anti-sweet tooth. No soda pop for me. I drink unsweetened tea all day. Sometimes it's a challenge to get unsweetened tea here, and if you don't specify, you get something approaching pancake syrup.  The only exception is a Jarritos orange at my local taqueria a couple times a year. 

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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Growing up it was simply Coke, except at the beach when I always had cream soda. There was a phase when I  ordered Dr. Brown's Cel-ray tonic at a deli with a pastrami sandwich on rye. Those were the days before the  "New Coke" disaster. I never much cared for Diet Coke.  I do have a good friend who, for lack of a better word, appears addicted to it as an after-dinner drink. Then for thirty years or so I stopped drinking soda altogether. In the last few years I've re-discovered root beer floats, but only indulge in hot weather a few times a year. And I'm super picky about the root beer: it can't be too sweet and it has to be made with cane sugar. A couple of months ago I ordered a Mexican Coke (I think it was in Atlanta at a family run Arepa joint) and it was delicious. 

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1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

Growing up it was simply Coke, except at the beach when I always had cream soda. There was a phase when I  ordered Dr. Brown's Cel-ray tonic at a deli with a pastrami sandwich on rye. Those were the days before the  "New Coke" disaster. I never much cared for Diet Coke.  I do have a good friend who, for lack of a better word, appears addicted to it as an after-dinner drink. Then for thirty years or so I stopped drinking soda altogether. In the last few years I've re-discovered root beer floats, but only indulge in hot weather a few times a year. And I'm super picky about the root beer: it can't be too sweet and it has to be made with cane sugar. A couple of months ago I ordered a Mexican Coke (I think it was in Atlanta at a family run Arepa joint) and it was delicious. 

Birch beer makes a great float.

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eGullet member #80.

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