Obesity is a big concern for today’s generation. One of the main reasons being the overconsumption of packaged foods. While some are simply accustomed to junk food, many rely on them for their daily meal intake to save time by cooking nutritious food at home in the midst of their busy schedules.
The rising rate of obesity is causing people to question their lifestyle. As a result, companies have started rolling out more diet-friendly options. One such product is diet coke – it’s the idea of losing weight without having to compromise the taste buds. But the question is whether it affects your body, especially when trying to maintain a healthier body.
The subject of sugar consumption and how much, is still a popular debate. It not only makes a dish taste delicious, but it is also very addictive. It has been proven time and time again that the more sugar we eat, the more calories we ingest, which leads to weight gain.
It’s only natural that if we want to lose weight, we should find a sugar substitute that’s as delicious as sugar but doesn’t have the calories. Over the past decade, people have leaned heavily towards sugar-free options to minimize calorie intake without having to reduce the sweetness of a delicacy.
According to an article published by Precision Nutrition titled All about natural sweetenersit’s no surprise that 20% of modern diets now consist of sweeteners.
After realizing the risks of refined table sugar, people changed their approach to natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave, and jaggery. There is an assumption that ‘natural’ automatically means ‘healthier’. Yes, these forms of sugars contain other antioxidants and nutrients that can benefit our bodies. But it could also mean that people who love sugar may overeat deserts in the name of healthy eating.
As a result, while building on the benefits of the minute amount of nutrients found in natural sugars, overconsumption can also lead to obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases.
Meanwhile, sweeteners concocted in labs aren’t as harmful as once believed. It was once believed that sweeteners that appeared in the food industry were feared to cause cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It is always important to be aware of what we put into our bodies. However, there have been large amounts of inconclusive or insignificant results, and the FDA has since approved up to eight sweeteners for food additives.
What makes artificial sweeteners different from sugar?
The answer is in their chemical bond. Most sweeteners used in “diet” products are “high intensity” sweeteners. The sweetness in it is so strong that the smallest dose can make a delicious drink without adding calories. One such popular sweetener is ‘Stevia’, they are 250-300 times sweeter than table sugar. Other examples are saccharin (200-700 times sweeter) and sucralose (600 times sweeter).
An article titled Health Implications of Fructose Consumption, asserted that our recommended daily sugar intake should be less than 50g of fructose. Indeed, diets high in fructose are associated with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Fructose is not limited to artificial sweeteners, it is also found in high amounts in natural sources like agave (a type of plant). A 32 ounce can of agave flavored soda if compared to the one sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the agave one contains 56g of fructose while the latter contains around 50 g. It is the dose that makes the poison, not the substance itself. Therefore, it is more important to count the input instead of the product.
This begs the question, are foods sweetened with high-intensity sweeteners so bad? The answer is not exactly. In fact, if you’re looking for a better sugar substitute, especially if you’re trying to lose weight without drastically changing your lifestyle, artificial sugar is beneficial if consumed in smaller amounts.
Let’s go back to “diet sodas” which are one of the most popular drinks among gym goers. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet cravings without consuming a lot of calories, a can of Coke Zero can quench your thirst.
For those who love alcohol, but avoid it for health reasons, sipping a can of soda can be a form of sweet pleasure. This is because of its potent astringent flavor that provides a slight burning sensation of carbonation on the tongue, which is similar to whiskey or wine. It can be a great way to kick a craving if you can stop at one.
On the other hand, if you’re a high-sugar soda enthusiast, switching to his diet variety is a small step to reducing calorie intake without overwhelming yourself with a major dietary change.
However, sometimes even diet sodas don’t work and sweet cravings still wander through your mind. In this case, relying on Diet Coke may actually increase the desire for sweet foods even more than before. In that case, try to find a healthier substitute like juicy fruit.
Now that we know the advantages of Diet Coke, let’s not ignore its disadvantages either. Diet sodas contain caffeine, which can disrupt sleep patterns. People who are trying to reduce their daily caffeine intake also trade their preference for Diet Coke, as it has less caffeine content compared to a regular cup of coffee.
In a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine study, people with sleep deprivation were found to burn 559 fewer calories per day, which may impact their weight loss attempts.