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?