Hi, I’m Karen, and I’m a diet soda addict. (This is where you all say, “Hi, Karen)
I bring this up today because there was a story on the news about the Coca Cola Company launching a campaign touting the safety of drinking diet soft drinks with Aspartame in them. They have years of testing to prove that drinking diet soda is safe. It might be “safe”, as in that might not be what eventually kills me, but I want to share my experience and why I think it still isn’t a good idea.
I’ll start with my story. After years, no decades, of drinking diet soda, I found myself addicted. Every night I CRAVED a diet soda with my dinner. Sure, I wanted the taste, but I was also avoiding the headache I would get if I didn’t have one. I got to the point that I would go begging for one from a neighbor if I ran out and couldn’t get to the store. After several tries, 2013 was my year to finally break the addiction. I had a couple of ugly headaches, then the craving was gone.
I have not become a soda-hating zealot. I will buy a small regular soda if I go see a movie, but I almost never finish it; it’s just too sweet. I even tried one diet soda to see how I would feel and if the craving would return. That night my diet-soda headache did return so my craving didn’t. (That was my body screaming, WHAT??? More of this stuff??? I thought we got rid of this stuff???)
As for medical studies , the ones they won’t discuss in these ads will be those that show that the more diet sodas a person consumes, the more likely they are to be overweight. (see University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio) From my own five years at Weight Watchers, I can confirm that diet soda is not your friend if you are trying to lose weight. Water is your friend, unsweet tea- friend, an occasional glass of wine – definitely your friend.
The ad campaign was spurred by a sharp decline in diet soda consumption, down 81% since 2000. I would see this as great news, except that another trend shows most of those people switching from diet soda to sports drinks, mega caffeine drinks and green tea (usually with artificial sweetener added). That’s like switching from Master Card to Visa to cure a debt problem.
I know there is nothing more annoying than a reformed addict. I try not to preach from my high horse too often, but sometimes, when you’ve been there/done that, you can offer a different perspective. I hope that is what I did today. Thanks for listening (This is where you all say, “thank you, Karen).