The irony that is Diet Coke

by Khushboo on January 16, 2012

Before New Years Day, I had posted that one of my 2012 resolutions was to give up all diet drinks, especially Diet Coke.  For as long as I can remember, I have been drinking Diet Coke for one big reason:

It gave me a sweet fix at almost no calories

It didn’t matter to me that the amount of gas in a can would leave me feeling bloated; the inherent dangers of Aspartame didn’t matter; I ignored the fact that the number of chemicals in a single can was counteracting all my efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle. As long as I’m not gaining any actual weight, all seemed fine in my head.  Along with the taste, drinking Diet Coke became almost a habit: every meal out or vodka consumed automatically called for Diet Coke.

While I always knew at the back of my head that I should reduce my intake, the one thing that got a light-bulb flashing was when I read about a recent study which revealed that people who drank diet soda daily had a 61% increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to this who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day

I am pleased to say that with 16 days into the year, not even a sip has passed my lips.  I think it is the best start I could have made for 2012 for one main reason:

Giving up Diet Coke has reduced my sugar cravings like crazy!

Maybe it’s a placebo effect or maybe it’s for real but that pressing need to finish every meal on a sweet note has gone (thank goodness!).  Even though Diet Coke doesn’t have the sugar or calories of regular Coke, it’s full of other draining chemicals like artificial sweeteners, sodium and phosphorus.

While reaching for cakes/chocolate every time a sugar craving hit wouldn’t have done me any favors, nor did reaching for a Diet Coke instead.  Even though Diet Coke doesn’t contain actual sugar, it is definitely the worser option in the long run.  Artificial sweeteners might fool our taste buds, but the brain and digestive system know the difference and will ramp up their efforts to obtain the real thing.  Result: sugar craving shoots up. 

Also in terms of hunger, Diet Coke serves no favorable purpose either.  While they don’t have any calories, diet drinks signal our brain to expect the calories.  Hence when we eat/drink things without calories, our brain receives the message that we’re not full yet.  As a result our bodies continue to look for the calories and our hunger levels increase.

If you told me any of this before, I would have definitely reserved my doubts.  Now that I’m actually experiencing it myself, I can more than vouch for both of the above being true.  While some suggest that it’s better to gradually wean off Diet Coke, going cold turkey has worked for me.  As for what has really helped me avoid reaching for a can, or even crave Diet Coke, I will do another post later on this week!

Have you ever given up a habit which you deep down knew was bad for you?

Related posts:

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Parita @ myinnershakti January 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

That first stat you posted is scary! I had no idea! I used to be an avid Diet Coke drinker, but started decreasing the amount I consumed a while back because I would get painful stomach aches after drinking it. Now I rarely, if ever, crave/want Diet Coke – I’ve found that water or unsweetened tea is my best option. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

Yes I’m still shocked that I’m not even craving it…I guess my tastebuds are over it completely! And unsurprisingly my intake of herbal teas and water has shot up- not a bad thing (other than the frequent bathroom visits)!

Reply

lovetotrain January 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

yayy bye bye diet coke! good girl!!

Reply

Alexandra January 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

So true, so true! Many of my friends have given up the stuff too because of the reasons you listed. Good for you for kicking it to the curb! :D

Reply

Purvi Verma Saini (@PurviVermaSaini) January 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I am not much into cold drinks, diet or otherwise but I do occasionally indulge in say half a cup of regular coke or pepsi… before giving it up i have to give up other things especially the fried junk :) :) 16 days is a great going Khushboo :)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

Yep if I really get the craving, I am going to go for the regular kind…at least that’s chemical free!

Reply

Tessa @ Amazing Asset January 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm

AHh that first stat is pretty scary! I loveeee diet coke so much but really, time to give it up! This is helpful for me girl

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

I’m glad you found it helpful!

Reply

Anand January 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Nothing beats a cold can of (regular) Coke. Well,maybe, a Cherry Coke.

Reply

Snapshots of Happiness January 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm

A while back, my boyfriend and sister kicked the diet coke habit after I told them things similar to the ones you listed above! The first stat is just crazy! I just found it interesting how people who drink diet coke, or eat other ‘diet foods’ end up consuming more calories then those who ‘stick with the real deal’. I guess with some things, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too.’

Keep up the good work! Glad you’re kicking the habit as well.

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:17 am

Yeah it really is so ironic how undiet ‘diet’ foods/drinks tend to be in the long-run!

Reply

goodformegirl January 17, 2012 at 2:03 am

Phew, what a loaded question! I’d say coffee, although I have yet to give it up :-)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

As long as you’re not drinking buckets of coffee a day, I don’t think it’s a bad habit! I drink max 2 cups a day and it’s definitely something I look forward to…wouldn’t think/want to give it up!

Reply

Tracy's Treats January 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

This is so so true and I’ve witnessed it first hand with Diet Coke addict friends. They’re ALWAYS craving something sweet! Good for you for giving it up!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

thanks :) !

Reply

manisha January 17, 2012 at 9:19 am

I have the same problem with splenda in my tea/coffee and oatmeal. What do you use to sweeten your oatmeal (if anything??)

Just finished a cup of tea and now going cold turkey after reading this! :-)

Thanks for the awesome post x

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

I usually cook my oatmeal with a ripe banana and cinnamon which tends to add the perfect sweetness for me! If I still find it’s lacking in sweetness, honey is my go-to!

Reply

raceready January 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

I used to have terrible cravings when I was downing diet coke! I ditched it, but still love Splenda. :-(

Reply

honeywhatscooking January 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

good article. i’m not sure if it is true, but I also believe Diet Coke and artificial sweeteners lead towards cancer. I think it’s a good idea to avoid Diet sodas all together. I used to drink a lot of coke, but now i’ve really cut back… literally once a month, or twice. I don’t like the fact the US Coke Brands contain High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar which is also bad for you, but definitely better than the diet stuff. By cutting out soda, I dropped a lot of pounds. :-)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

Wow I’m surprised that the US Coke brands are still using high fructose corn syrup…but I suppose it’s the lesser of two evils (ie sweeteners)!

Reply

runningismagical January 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Whooo!!! I gave up diet coke back in college and I had some gnarly headaches for a long time after! Seriously, 16 days is huge and I have no doubt that you’ll be able to keep it up :)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 11:53 am

Thanks and way to go on also giving it up!

Reply

Rahul January 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

It was nice to learn that you kicked this unhealthy drink out as a New Year resolve! A good post encouraging inculcation of healthy life style!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thanks :)

Reply

Sarah January 19, 2012 at 12:17 am

This is so interesting! I’m finding my diet coke addiction really hard to beat if I’m honest – this gives me some incentive to do just that!

Reply

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com January 19, 2012 at 4:56 am

Yahoo!! I gave it coke/soda’s/diet drinks quite a while now and have been drinking sparkling water for bubbles, occasionally with a wedge of lemon. Perfecto!

Reply

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com January 19, 2012 at 4:56 am

I meant, “gave in” not “gave it” hahahaha!!!!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

Yes fresh lime sodas have been my savior (sparkling water with a lot of lemon juice squeezed in)!

Reply

Gayatri January 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Wow! More power to you KT. I never liked diet drinks. I always craved the real thing. I haven’t had both since New Year’s Eve. But that’s easy because I wasn’t really addicted to it. The “quit” that I’m most proud of is tea/coffee. From two-three cups a day, I’ve gone to ZERO. It’s been two months now and I’m happier than ever. In fact I might do a post on it soon :)

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thanks and well done to you as well! Giving up tea/coffee isn’t easy at all…I know I would definitely struggle to do so! Are u drinking herbal teas though or is that a no-no too?

Reply

Nada (One Arab Vegan) January 20, 2012 at 4:04 am

Woop, go Khushboo! Cold turkey is definitely the way to go, I’m sure you’ll do great if you’ve made it this far. I gave up diet drinks a while ago but was never a big fan to be honest. Everything I’ve read about aspartame scares me way too much – I can barely buy gum without feeling guilty!

Reply

Khushboo Thadani January 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I used to ignore reading about aspartame because I knew it was bad for me, I just didn’t want to know HOW bad!

Reply

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen January 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Oh, girl, I feel your pain on the Diet Coke! It is like a drug…once I have it, I just want more. I have gone most of the new year without any as well, and I have been focusing on drinking water instead. To be honest, though, I’m not sure I feel that different….however I’d already gotten down from my 1 (or 2) a day, and no longer have the 3:00 “must have a DC” moment.

On the flip side, there are HEALTHY habits that I have a hard time forming…like flossing.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: