How Diet Soda Can Sabotage Weight Loss Efforts

Since it’s inception, diet soda has been promoted as the perfect alternative to sugar laden drinks for those who are calorie and weight conscious. And although it is true diet soda has no calories, this certainly does not mean it doesn’t not affect your figure. Furthermore, according to published studies of diet soda, it may actually make you crave more sugary foods and drinks than if you had just drank a regular soda with sugar in it.

The reasons why diet soda may adversely affect your cravings and weight are varied, but we will discuss some of the most common reasons that have been discovered after doing studies of diet sodas.

Soda Can Sabotage Weight Loss Efforts

There are several theories, but these are the two most popular:

Serotonin

This is a hormone in our brain that makes us feel good. It is an important hormone, as those who suffer from depression have low levels of serotonin. When we eat something sweet serotonin levels are altered, making us feel good, but if the body does not feel it’s sugar needs are being met, it will make us crave foods that are converted into sugar such as breads and sweets.

The illusion of eating less

Another theory is that people who consume diet soda and other foods that are diet or “light” will give the person a form of mental “consent” to cheat on something else they eat or drink, or they may unconsciously believe that because they saved calories on one thing such as diet soda they can now eat more of other foods.

For example, there are those who believe that if you eat a large meal at a fast food restaurant such as a large order of fries and a double meat and cheese burger, you are still doing ok because you have saved calories by drinking a diet soda. While it may be true that you saved calories from the diet soda, you have also given yourself mental permission to indulge in a huge calorie and fat filled meal and not feel guilty about it.

Which is the best type of soda to drink?

The correct answer is none. Drink sodas only occasionally, and if you do drink any sodas, drink the real thing with real sugar, not diet sodas -of course this does not apply if you have a blood sugar problem such as diabetes. Leave drinking sodas for special occasions, not for every day drinking. This in turn will actually help you appreciate the taste even more so when you do drink them, such as only on weekends or when you eat out. Also keep in mind sodas are rich in sodium which causes the body to lose calcium. Calcium is vital for the health of our bones.

 

A normal 12-ounce soda has 12 teaspoons of sugar in it. The World Health Organization recommends that the maximum daily consumption of sugar should be 10 teaspoons. If you drink just one soda you have surpassed their recommendation by a single drink.

drinking water

Find healthful replacements for soda

Try drinking water or tea without sweetening, or a natural fruit juice with no added sugar, or low fat milk. Lemon, oranges or other fruits placed into water will also help to give it some flavor without large amounts of sugar.

Meridia: Not for Everyone

It was a lifeline. I, like many people in my shoes, have tried many different kinds of diets over the years. But alas, I tend to be part of that old cliché: I live to eat, not eat to live. It has been a curse these last years, when time behind the computer to earn the daily dime increases, decreasing my physical activity and all the while, nudging my age upward.

I’d tried the mini meals at one point and somehow trained my body that this was the right way to handle hunger. But then I found myself hungry all day long with a dash of ferocious appetite in the evening (unfortunately within two hours of bedtime). I needed help.

So I asked my doctor if there wasn’t something that would take the edge off that night-time hunger, something to help retrain my brain that I didn’t need that massive meal right before turning in at night. Eating earlier was out of the question because I’m afraid employers frown upon Bunsen burners at the desk and my hours dictated that I be there during that part of the day that most of us consider dinner time-and breakfast time and lunch time. The doctor was understanding and said that many of his patients had great success with a drug called Meridia. (http://www.meridia.net/)

Meridia Tablets

I was excited to begin a new eating program with a nice crutch for added measure; and once the insurance hurdle was jumped, I started taking Meridia once a day. I’d, of course, gone online and read all the materials available regarding the side effects and usage of the drug, as well as things that other people were saying. It looked good-I could do this.

The first side effect popped up pretty quickly; in fact, it plagued me the first night. Insomnia. This was a real bummer, since I already had two sleep disorders; and now here I was, tossing and turning for five hours, added to an already overwhelming situation. Oddly, though I’d been up more than half the night that first night, and fitfully finally dosed off at a totally unreasonable hour; I wasn’t tired the next day. I felt a bit grouchy, but that was to be expected, right? Hmmm.

By the third day (still having insomnia each night), I realized that another side effect was occurring, but I’d been just dismissing it. It wasn’t until a close friend called me to ask, “Are you alright? You are really on edge lately. What gives?” I’d undergone in that short time frame a personality change-grouchy, in fact, was a kind description.

Frankly, and forgive my bluntness, I’d turned into a bitch. Now my personality, even on a bad day, is usually very mild. I’m almost always in a good mood and I rarely snap at anyone. I’m patient, giving, and generally well-liked. But when my friend pointed out my edginess, I realized that I’d truly changed in the prior couple days.

At work, I wanted to be left entirely alone in my office and did not welcome conversation or interruptions of any kind. When forced to interact (which is a large part of my job), I had to fight the urge to growl at people or become sarcastic. This was not me! At home, I didn’t hold back so much, and those around me were suffering-pretty much in silence for fear of death probably.

But here’s the best part. I was having insomnia. I’d turned into a nasty person. AND the drug was not working. It was supposed to be telling my brain that I was pleasantly full, but I was as hungry (if not more so) than ever! I was getting the bad side effects and not the benefit! Still, I was hopeful and decided to give it a few more days-just in case it took a while to get into my system (well longer than the side effects anyway).

Before And After

Lack of sleep and a changed personality could be dealt with on a short-time basis if I was aware of it, and if the drug would help me change my eating habits, I was all for continuing for a while longer. No go; things continued as they were: I was now a tired shrew.

Consequently, a little over a week after I’d started Meridia, I stopped Meridia. It just wasn’t worth the agony. So a note to the wise, beware, be watchful. It’s a wonder drug for many. But not everyone has a great experience with Meridia.

Big Breakfast, Slim Waist

First thing in the morning, there are lots of people that claim they just can’t eat breakfast. I used to be this way, then I saw the advantages of breaking your fast. Also, for weight loss there is nothing better than a nice healthy breakfast. I used to be 215lbs, 37 inch waist. Now I’m 164lbs, 31 inch waist, and of course I exercised! But the real secret is what you eat, and when you eat it. Eat big early and you’ll be running on high octane all day.

1) After a night’s rest, you’ve gone between 6 and 9 hours without a single thing to eat. Had you been awake for those hours, do you think you’d be hungry? Of course you would! Your metabolic rate is greatly decreased during sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to feed yourself come wake up time.

When your body goes long periods of time without food, it turns on it’s survival mechanism: “starvation mode.” This is when your body stops burning the food you ate earlier, and starts converting those carbs into fat for longer term storage. So if you’re looking to pack on a little insulation for winter, skipping meals is a fantastic way to keep warm, because you’ll be padding your midsection in no time.

skipping meals is a fantastic way to keep warm

2) The next step after starvation mode is that your body will begin to consume what many of us try so hard to develop: muscle tissue. How can this be true? Because human bodies weren’t specifically designed to be beautiful machines like we tend to see them today, but rather as survival driven organisms. In time when food is short, begins to consume the chemical food stored in muscle tissue.

So when you starve yourself, or skip meals, or even just eat infrequently, your body will be more prone to dipping into those reserves and hampering your results. Why would you want to work against your muscle growth? Every pound of muscle burns 50 calories a day, just at rest! Don’t let your body go into starvation mode!

3) Skipping meals also has a further negative effect on your eating habits. When your body doesn’t have a nutrient rich diet to fuel it, you risk having your blood-sugar levels drop lower and lower, and you become “hypoglycemic.” Which literally means “low sugar.” So what does your body do to compensate? It looks for the nearest high sugar food product to get your back up to where you need to be.

And this tends to be a candy bar, or a cola, or some other piece of manufactured caloric evil. This dive and spike in your blood sugar levels is extremely harmful to your system, as it struggles to find a balance and finds itself working overtime to do so.

4) Eating a nice healthy breakfast will actually make you want to eat less throughout the course of the day, because it was fed so well in the very beginning. There is truth behind the old axiom, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And it is. No other nutritional factor has as much effect on your body as a great breakfast.

On a side note, here are some easy ways to make breakfast a routine part of your day.

Get up a little earlier, take a shower and let your body and mind warm up. Usually by the time you’ve woken up, showered, shaved (men), and gone through your morning routine you’ll be getting pretty hungry. Avoid coffee and caffeine in the morning as they will only make you crash later in the morning. But if you’re one of the many that MUST have it, drink your coffee after your breakfast, as caffeine takes away your appetite, and makes you more prone to going into starvation mode.

Big Breakfast

For those of you that just claim you can’t bear to eat in the morning, start small. My breakfast is huge, but that’s because my body expects it. For you, start with something small and work your way up. A small bowl of cereal and a banana. Some yogurt and granola. A single egg and an orange. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to become hungry in the morning, and then you’ll be on the right track to feed yourself well, and feel good to go all day!

My own breakfast:

2 eggs (sometimes 3 if I’m extra hungry) and cheddar cheese made into an omelet.

2 pieces of toast, wholegrain, with homemade jam or jelly. Or oatmeal, from scratch (not the packaged stuff) with raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Also, a little secret food I came across: hemp hearts. Mix a couple spoonfuls of hemp hearts into oatmeal or any other food like it, and you’ll be stunned by the energy you have! Talk about a wonder food!

1 banana

1 tall glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.

So, eat up, and good morning!