Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm Finally Ending My Diet Soda Embargo

On my 35th birthday on December 27, 2006, I made the fateful decision to stop drinking diet sodas for good. Why? Because I wanted to and felt at the time that it was a logical progression in my weight and health management routine.

I've always said losing weight was priority #1 and I have kept the weight off long enough now that I'm evaluating areas of my diet and fitness that can be examined to continue improving upon my lifestyle. It's a good lesson for anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb to take things incrementally rather than trying to change everything is one swell foop!

That is what led me to look at my diet soda intake seriously and make some appropriate changes in my consumption habits. Although I was not experiencing any apparent negative consequences to my weight or health from drinking these calorie-free bubbly drinks, I thought I would give it a go in 2007 to ditch them for good.

Or at least that was my goal.

I actually listed "stop drinking diet sodas" as one of my very few New Year's resolutions to start the year. Unfortunately, though, since I was not seeing or feeling any benefit from being off of diet sodas completely for over a month, I was extremely disappointed. In fact, my weight didn't get better, but worse--climbing back up to 229 pounds again! EEEK!

So, I decided last week with the blessing of my wife Christine to end my self-imposed diet soda embargo and started drinking diet sodas again. Christine commented that she thought it was probably a good idea since they seemed to help me more than hurt. As of today, I have been drinking my sugar-free, Splenda/ACE-K sweetened fizzy drinks (like my favorite Diet Rite brand!) again and couldn't be happier.

In fact, guess what else?! In the week since I started drinking diet sodas, I have already lost 5 1/2 pounds and feel so much better than I did when I wasn't drinking them. And whether anyone else wants to admit it or not, that's what matters. Nobody is going to tell me what's good for me but me. Say it with me now, "That's just the way it is!" :D

Yeah, yeah, I can hear a small minority of dieting purists telling me how "empty" and "unhealthy" drinking diet sodas will be for me, but I just don't care about that opinion because it doesn't hold true for me. The bottom line is they provide me with intangible benefits that keep my weight and health on the straight and narrow. Nobody can convince me otherwise, which is why I'll keep drinking them from now on.

If somebody doesn't like that, then nothing is standing in their way of cutting out diet sodas from their life. But don't criticize my decision to keep drinking them when it's obvious they have been an integral part of my low-carb weight loss success and continuing maintenance. There's no doubt about it!

The truth of the matter is that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with drinking diet soda as part of your healthy low-carb lifestyle as long as you stick with the ones sweetened with Splenda/ACE-K, including Diet Rite, Diet Coke with Splenda, Diet Cheerwine, and Pepsi One, among others. I'll still avoid aspartame-infested diet drinks like Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Coke Zero, etc. because I am not very fond of Nutrasweet for health reasons. I'll just leave it at that for now!

Think about it logically for a moment: Which is healthier for you--sugary soda or diet soda? DUH! This shouldn't even be a debatable subject because there's just no doubt about it despite what this idiotic psychiatrist says about how "healthy" drinking regular Coca-Cola is for you.

You may have heard about this study claiming diet soda makes you fat, but I've never heard anything more absurd! During my 180-pound weight loss in 2004, I drank LOTS of diet soda along with my regular water consumption and I have kept on drinking these diet sodas for most part over the past couple of years.

They didn't make me fat, but kept me sane while I transitioned off of regular soda to diet soda. Sure, I will admit I need to discipline myself to limit my number of diet sodas to a reasonable daily number--say 3-4 instead of the 8-10 I was drinking. But that's still better than the 16-20 sugary sodas I USED to drink before my low-carb lifestyle.

It's all about choices and I'm making better ones now. Rather than cut them out completely, I will gladly continue drinking my diet sodas if they are instrumental in keeping me a weight loss success for the rest of my life. That's where I am now and I couldn't be more pleased.

Do you have any comments or reaction to my decision? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Hit me with your best shot if you think I'm crazy for drinking diet sodas again. Or if you are like me and have found success using these calorie-free drinks as part of your healthy low-carb lifestyle, then share your story, too.

Click on the comment link and let us know what you think!

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Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

I agree with you Jimmy! While water is always the perfect drink, not everyone likes it. I'm not a huge fan of water and have to force myself to drink it. I do so knowing that it's good for me. But I drink more diet rite than I do water. I did the first time around and lost all the weight quickly with no side effects. I'm drinking them now while on Kimkins and losing faster than ever. I know people will argue the point.. but the proof is in the low-carb pudding. Until I have a problem with it, I'll take my diet rite, thank you very much.

2/07/2007 12:19 AM  
Blogger katiep said...

My vote is FOR the diet soda.
I agree that there are some wicked pleasures in life that you just have to have or you will go crazy!
I eat clean, low carb, workout nearly every single day and I'm kind to my cat so diet soda has to be my only vice.
Otherwise I'd be perfect and you would all hate me!
K xxx

2/07/2007 6:08 AM  
Blogger Calianna said...

I can't say I've noticed any difference one way or the other, with or without diet sodas, as far as weight loss goes. But then, the only sucralose/AceK drinks I've used have been the DaSani flavored waters, and the only diet sodas I've used has been Fresca, which is sweetened with Aspartame. Not that I drink either one very often, maybe a couple times a week.

(I'm out of Fresca now though - I think I may drop them for a while and just stick with the occasional DaSani flavored water, since it's not carbonated, and I never really was a big fan of bubbly drinks)

Obviously they're helping you somehow, so go for it - you've gotta do what works best for YOU! (Hmm... maybe I should try drinking a few of the DaSani's each day? ;))

My thinking on the subject of diet sodas is that it's just like the whole low-fat/low-carb debate.

For some people, low fat works fine, with adequate weight loss, no serious cravings, no excessive hunger, and they really can see themselves eating that way for the rest of their lives. If they can do that, more power to them, I won't stand in their way.

For some of us though, low-carb is the way to go, because our metabolisms just can't handle all the carbs you'd need to eat with a low fat diet, unless we want to gain even more weight. For us, we can eat low carb, feel satisfied hours and hours longer, eliminate cravings, and actually lose weight, so it'd be nice if people would stop focusing on the rumors they've heard about it being so "dangerous".

So... if you like bubbly drinks, and diet sodas somehow keep you from searching out little unnecessary snacks, or craving high carb treats, then great- sounds like they're exactly what YOU need to round out your low carb way of eating.

I say "To each his own". Go for it.

2/07/2007 8:41 AM  
Blogger healthgeek said...

Wow! more weight loss with the diet soda? You'd think that it wouldn't have any impact at all, good OR bad. Maybe it's the extra fluids you're getting when you have your soda that encourages the loss!

Myself, I love soda. Diet, of course - I also enjoy plain 'ole carbonated water.

Enjoy your soda Jimmy! I'll think of ya next time I crack open my Pepsi One.

2/07/2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Let me emphasize that I STILL drink LOTS of water along with my diet sodas. Probably around 1-2 GALLONS of water per day. No kidding! I've always had a high thirst and I like mixing it up between water, diet soda, and other healthy liquids. THANKS for the feedback everyone!

Anybody else got an opinion to share?

2/07/2007 10:07 AM  
Blogger said...

I think your sugar addiction(artifical sweeteners)and caffeine addiction(the chocolate)are going to damage your health before your through. I think you were on the right track getting off the diet soda but your stimulant addiction fooled you back into using. If you had given it a few more months and also gotten off from the other poison you would have felt the health benifits in a large way. We made it millions of years perfectly without these addictive stimutants.

2/07/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

I vote AGAINST diet soda. It isn't any better for you than real soda except that it has no sugar in it. Big whoop. Water is so much better anyways. Some can caterwaul about not liking it, but the real truth is that it tastes alot better.

I'll take my water, thankyaverymuch!

2/07/2007 7:21 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

That was an interesting experiment. Thanks for reporting back! But I like that you're giving some experience based data to the pro-soda side. There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that soda = stall. That probably doesn't hold true for all people. And if you're eating a strict low-carb diet and want diet soda as a treat... well, it beats a lot of other food treats I can think of.

There was a series of PSAs from a few years back with the tag-line "It's not the sugar... it's the acid!" And, ignoring the fact that I don't care for the taste of diet soda, that's what got me to kick all soda once and for all. I had a wicked Vanilla Coke habit. My teeth are shot as it is. One soda and they actually hurt. So, it's not all about weight loss :) Long live Earl Grey!

2/07/2007 7:21 PM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

I could never give up my diet soda. I drink all brands and kinds, no matter the sweetener.

People might also want to investigate Celestial Seasonings "Zingers To Go" cold tea. It comes in little packets like the Crystal Light to go, but it's tea and it's lightly sweetened with Stevia. My favorite is Blueberry Splash.

2/07/2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

Million of years, bunnell? Many cutures today still chew coca leaves for energy - as they have for millenia. Maybe we should all do that instead?

2/07/2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger Wrath said...

Jimmy, in 2006 you wrote an article about Diet Coke stopping production on Diet Coke with splenda, yet it is still readily available do you know if they changed their mind and kept producing it?

I agree with you that diet rite is really good, my favorite is their diet cherry cola, I make sure to stock up when ever its on sale.

2/07/2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I like my water, too, Jeff which is why I drink nearly 2 gallons of it a day...AND my diet soda! :D

2/07/2007 10:14 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Wrath,

WHOA, Diet Rite makes a CHERRY COLA?! I haven't seen that where I live. What's it called? I've seen the tangerine and white grape, but cherry cola is my favorite. That's why I kept wishing Coca-Cola would make a Diet Cherry Coke with Splenda.

As for still seeing DC w/Splenda on the shelves, you will notice it is ONLY 12-packs and not in 2-liters, 20-ounce bottles, or any of the other sizes for the "normal" stocked items. Coke Zero, on the other hand, comes in all shapes and sizes.

I think Coke is letting their existing stock of DC w/Splenda run out and then they'll stop making it. Or, perhaps, enough of us low-carb and Splenda fans let them know we LOVE IT and they decided to keep it.

We can hope it is the latter and not the former. But I do wish they would remove the caffeine and make that Diet Cherry Coke with Splenda for me. I'd buy STOCK in the stuff!

THANKS for your comments!

2/07/2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Sherrie said...

Hey Jimmy were you snacking more without the diet sodas?

2/07/2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Oh no!! I hope DC with Splenda isn't going away!

I too stopped w/ Nutrasweet about 10 years ago. I learned shortly after finding that I have epilepsy that Nutrasweet triggered some of my seizures.

I find that now I can have NS upon occasion with no ill effects, but something that triggers seizures isn't a positive addition to my diet. :)

I MOSTLY limit myself to 1 DC/Splenda per day, b/c I really would prefer not to have any artifical sweeteners.....but I would rather have that in small amounts that the high-fructose corn syrup. Talk about unnatural!!

2/07/2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

You know, Sherrie, come to think of it, I WAS SNACKING MORE! I guess having that void from the diet sodas kinda forced me into finding "something else" instead.

In my mind, I'd rather have some calorie-free diet sodas than even some low-carb snack foods. Those calories obviously add up and probably explain my weight gain.


2/07/2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

WOW, Laura, I didn't know about your epilepsy. I hope it stays in remission for you.

Since you brought up HFCS, you might be interested in this blog post from back in 2005 right after I started my blog, the President of the Corn Refiner's Association took me to task about criticizing corn syrup.

She called it an "all natural" product. HA! Go read that link for a GREAT laugh. THANKS for sharing your comments!

2/07/2007 10:56 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I am a diet-soda believer. It is a harmless craving satisfier, and that is crucial for success on the psychological side of avoiding the real sweets. I don't think i could make it without these safe treats, which I can sip all day. They completely satisfy my cravings. And lets admit that fizzy cola is such a satisfying taste for humans. I'm only worried that it confuses my glucose response mechanism, or encourages my sweet tooth, or the caffiene has anti-diet or water-retention effects, so I also appreciate the no-caffiene versions. I need some caffiene every day for metabolism and digestive-boost, but not too much. I try to find low or medium-caffiene alternatives and spead them out over the day. I can only agree with your move back to diet sodas, they just make living easier, without risk.

2/07/2007 11:22 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

You know, I've never understood the argument that drinking diet sodas or eating foods with artificial sweeteners in them will cause you to CRAVE sugar. That's not been my experience at all.

The reason why I consume these products is BECAUSE I don't want sugar anymore. In other words, they give me just enough of that "sweet" taste that my palate desires and I'm satisfied.

While I applaud people who can give up both sugar and artificial sweeteners, I think most people would go batty on that kind of exclusionary diet. Especially for those of us who were sugar junkies, things made with Splenda are a God-send!

2/07/2007 11:45 PM  
Blogger AnOldHouse said...

I gave up diet sodas as a staple a year ago in March. I say a "staple" because I used to drink upwards of a 6-pack of 12-ounce cans of soda a day. I did switch to almost exclusively non-aspartame soda about 3 years ago.

I do drink diet soda on occassion now, but it's maybe one or two a week. I've grown so accustomed to drinking almost only water and unsweetened iced tea with lemon now.

No, I didn't notice any difference in weightloss or the way I felt or anything else by switching off the diet soda least not in a month or two time. But I have been able to lose more weight this past year. Did losing the diet sodas have some much bigger-picture, longer-term effect (in addition to the omega balancing and supplement adjustments)? Honestly, I don't know.

My biggest concern with the soda, however, was the constant bombardment of phosphoric acid. What was all that constant consumption of phosphoric acid doing to me in the long run? I'd rather not find out the hard way.

I made the change and I'm glad I did. I'm eating more paleo now than ever before (no diet sodas a million years ago) and reaping the benefits in both weightloss and general health.


2/08/2007 12:39 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your perspective, David!

2/08/2007 12:53 AM  
Blogger said...

Keeping the "Sugar High" alive and the "Caffeine High" alive at all cost(like the rats in tests) points inexplicably to the lifetime addictions to stimulants that most of we Americans face. Look at the "wrath" that rises when somebody speaks to forcefully against these addictions. They will tear you to shreds, you are not going to take away there sugar substitute or there caffeine, period. They will discredit you, they will scoff at you, they will jump all over you if that is what it takes but nobody is going to take away there goodies. Just like the person defending corn syrup ie, her job is at stake, and it's a fight to the end. Addictions are powerful forces and we will fight to the death for them, even if they are killing us. Look at heroin, tobacco, cocaine, caffeine, sugar etc etc. We become terribly addicted to all of these. Our "body chemistry" and all of the "why's" of this are far to little understood and far to little studied.

2/08/2007 1:04 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hamlin said...

BunnellFarm is absolutely correct! I am terribly addicted to carbs myself. I have tried to get over it several times, but I have let carbs back in for one reason or another every single time. And I weigh almost 330 pounds to prove that.

As for Katiep saying, "I agree that there are some wicked pleasures in life that you just have to have or you will go crazy!", that is one of the most reckless statements in modern history. Why not just make it include things like illicit drugs, promiscuous sex, or something else? Follow that logic and it's what you would eventually get.

2/08/2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Elaine said...

Well, you know that I'm FOR diet soda being that my blog is entitled, I Love Diet Soda. I read about that study that says diet soda makes you gain weight and that's complete rubbish. How can something with no calories make you gain weight? Impossible I say! I drink diet soda because I love its taste and the fact that I can sip on it all day without worrying about excess calories.

2/12/2007 10:00 AM  

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