Are diet fizzy drinks a good health choice?

We are all aware that drinking fizzy drinks – particular the ‘non diet’ variety that they are full of sugar and excess calories. So for many of us (including me) we try to go for the ‘no calorie or no sugar’ options. By doing this we think we are making a wise choice but often that is not the case.

I have been drinking far too many of these diet fizzy drinks and doing this research I was not aware of how bad these ‘diet fizzy drinks’ are and wanted to share this with you.

The no calorie no sugar option of a fizzy drink may seem like a healthy option. Let’s face it can save  you over 140 calories per can (depending on the option you choose) and this will also satisfy your craving for something sweet…but this can will contain several different types of artificial sweeteners which can include aspartame, saccharin, and sucrose.

Drinking these types of fizzy drinks is fine if just one or two cans a day but what happens if you like several cans of this type of fizzy drinks a day. There can be more to this enhanced cocktail than meets the eye.

What else is in the diet fizzy drinks?

Caffeine – There are often a few varieties of the diet fizzy drinks and some contain caffeine. You may feel this will boost your energy. A standard size can of diet fizzy drink with caffeine will contain around 47 milligrams of caffeine. This is an average amount for most people and this amount would not cause any harm. However what if you drink several cans a day or you are very sensitive to caffeine? In these instances you could experience headaches, anxiety, insomnia or even abnormal heart rhythms

More worrying is that caffeine can also interfere with some medications and supplements. These can include ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin and theophylline. So much for trying to stay healthy!

Caffeine can affect everyone differently. It has been said that the larger you are the less sensitive you will be to caffeine. However please be aware that if you ‘withdraw’ from caffeine completely then you could experience some slight headaches. So reduce gradually or if you are going to give up then try to make sure it is when you are not facing any pressure or need immediate concentration. I suggest the weekend or when you re on leave from work for a few days.

 

Dehydration – We drink the diet fizzy drinks generally when are thirsty.

However, these drinks do not contain any nutritional value. I mentioned above about caffeine but did you know this can also contribute to dehydration?

 

Caffeine is a diuretic which means the trips to the toilet become more regular. Who needs that especially if you are going on a long journey or stuck in traffic!

 

The more visits to the toilet means you are getting rid of water that your body needs. Being dehydrated can also make you feel dizzy and you could experience headaches. These diet drinks will not hydrate you as well as other alternative drinks and below are a few alternative suggestions.

  • Drink unsweetened tea and coffee, hot or cold, to combat the headaches and other annoying symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
  • Why not try a natural drink You can purchase naturally carbonated fruit flavoured beverages in all major health stores and supermarkets. Or try making your own by mixing 100% fruit juice with carbonated water for a really healthy fizzy drink
  • Why not make a smoothie with your favourite fruits blended.
Try an herbal tea – there are so many varieties in the supermarkets you will be spoilt for choice. Make sure the teabags are left in for a long time so the flavour comes through enhanced.
  • Drink water. Healthy and cheap, water is perhaps the best drink of all. if you find water not satisfying then add a lemon or lime for a more natural flavour. I really like this and have a bottle of this often in the fridge and this is excellent in the warmer weather.

Drinking diet drinks does not mean you will lose weight – Yes the diet drinks are not loaded with any calories but may not help you with weight loss. There was research does from the University of Texas that confirmed that over a period of 10 years the diet drinkers ended up with a greater waist circumstance of over 70% compared to non diet drinkers. Also research and also found that those people who drink more than 2 diet fizzy drinks a day their increase was over 500%.

While artificial sweeteners can confuse the body another reason could be that you think that as you are not drinking any liquid calories you can justify that extra trip to the take away or that extra bar of chocolate.

There is no health value – We all drink the diet fizzy drinks as they are calorie free. But think about this you are not swallowing anything that does your body any good either.

You will get a hangover – By using a diet fizzy drink in  your alcohol drinks as the mixer  you will get drunk faster that if you used the ‘full fat’ fizzy drink as your mixer. This is because our bloodstream is able to absorb the artificial sweeteners quicker than sugar.

Calcium – Calcium is needed for growth and maintenance of your strong bones and teeth. By drinking the diet fizzy drinks the drinks may interfere with your calcium levels because it is high in phosphate. By continuing to drink these diet drinks this can mean that there will be additional  large amounts of phosphate into the blood stream, which then draws calcium from your bones. In turn this may enhance your change of a fracture or a fall by three or four times. On the flip side too little calcium in your diet can cause osteoporosis.

Calcium can be found in the following foods (this list is only a sample of some calcium enriched foods) Kale, Sardines, yoghurt, Broccoli, Watercress and Cheese.

Aspartame – When aspartame, the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke, came on the market in the 1980s, there was great public concern that it might cause cancer. These fears appear to be groundless according to research by the American Cancer Society. The bad news is that aspartame can cause other problems  Anyone with phenylketonuria – a rare disorder in which the body can’t process the amino acid phenylalanine – must avoid aspartame completely. Aspartame may also cause other symptoms including headaches and mood changes in certain individuals.

So who still wants to drink a diet fizzy drink – certainly not me!

Do let me know how you get on.

Cheers!

If you are concerned about any aspect of your health (not just drinking diet drinks) then always consult a doctor or visit your local pharmacy for advice

 

 

2 Replies to “Are diet fizzy drinks a good health choice?”

  1. Oh dear… I’m reading this while I sip Pepsi Max! I know it’s not ‘good’, but I guess it’s one of those things I don’t think or worry too much about (despite drinking quite a lot of it). A good push in the right direction with this article to reconsider what you’re drinking. Off to get a glass of water instead! x

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