Obesity is a huge concern for today’s generation. One of the biggest reasons being, the over consumption of packaged food. While some are just habituated of junk-goods, many rely on them for their daily meal intake in order to save time from cooking proper nutritional home-cooked food amid their busy schedule.
The increasing rate of obesity has people questioning their lifestyle. Therefore, companies have started launching more diet friendly options. One such product is diet coke- it’s the thought of losing weight without having to compromise the taste buds. But the question is- does it affect your body, especially when you are trying to maintain a healthier body.
The topic of the consumption of sugar and on what quantity, is always a popular debate. It not only makes a dish taste delicious, it is also very addictive. It has been repeatedly proven that the more sugar we consume, the more calories we ingest – resulting in weight gain.
It’s only natural that if we want to lose weight, we should find a sugar replacement that is as delicious as sugar but doesn’t have the calories. Over the past decade, people have heavily leaned towards sugar-free options in order to minimize the intake of calories without having to reduce the sweetness of a delicacy.
According to an article published by Precision Nutrition titled All About Natural Sweetenersit was no surprise that 20% of modern diets now consist of sweeteners.
After realizing the risks that come from refined table sugar, people shifted 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 sugar contain other antioxidants and nutrients that may benefit our bodies. But, it could also mean for people who love sugar may overeat the deserts in the name of eating healthy.
As a result, while relying on the benefits of the minute amount of nutrients found in natural sugars, the over consumption can lead to obesity and other lifestyle diseases as well.
Meanwhile, sweeteners concocted in laboratories aren’t as harmful as once believed. It was once believed that sweeteners emerged on the food industry were feared to be the cause of cancers and Alzheimer’s. It is always important to be conscious about what we put in our body. However, there have been copious 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 bonding. Most sweeteners used in “diet” products are “high-intensity” sweeteners. The sweetness in it is so strong that the tiniest dosage can make a drink taste delicious without adding calories. One of these popular sweeteners is ‘Stevia,’ these are 250-300 times sweeter than table sugar. Other examples are, Saccharine (200-700 times sweeter) and Sucralose (600 times sweeter).
The article titled Health Implications of Fructose Consumption, claimed that our daily recommended intake of sugar should be under 50g of fructose. This is because diets containing high fructose are associated with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Fructoseis not limited to artificial sweeteners, it’s also found in high quantities in natural sources like agave (a type of plant). A 32 oz can of soda flavored with agave if compared with the one sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the one with agave contains 56 gm of fructose while the later contains around 50 gm. It is the dose that makes the poison, not the substance itself. Therefore, it is more important to count the intake instead of the product.
This raises the question if foods sweetened with high-intensity sweeteners are bad? The answer is- not exactly. In fact, if you are looking for a better substitute to sugar, especially if you’re trying to lose weight without making drastic changes in lifestyle, artificial sugar is beneficial if consumed in lower quantity.
Coming back to ‘diet sodas’ which are one of the popular drinks among gym enthusiasts. If you are 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 are avoiding it due to health concerns, sipping on a can of soda can be a mild form of pleasure. It is because of its powerful astringent flavor that provides a slight burning sensation of carbonation on the tongue, which is similar to whiskey or wine. This may be a great way to kick a craving if you can stop at one.
On the other hand, if you are an avid full-sugar soda person, shifting to its diet variety is a small step to reducing the caloric intake without overwhelming yourself with a significant dietary change.
However, sometimes even diet sodas don’t work and sweet cravings still take a stroll on one’s mind. In this case, relying on diet coke can in fact increase the desire for sweet foods even more than before. In this case, try to find a healthier substitute like juicy fruits.
Now that we know the advantages of diet coke, let’s not ignore its disadvantages as well. Diet sodas contain caffeine, which can disrupt sleep patterns. People who are trying to reduce their caffeine consumption on a daily basis, also swap their preference to diet coke as the caffeine content in it is less in comparison to a regular cup of coffee.
In a study by Mayo Clinic College of Medicine it was found that people suffering from sleep deprivation burned 559 fewer calories per day which can impact their weight loss attempts.