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  • Writer's pictureAnita Hollerer-Squire

Are sugar-free drinks better for us?

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Soft drink giants like Coca Cola and Pepsi have pledged to cut the sugar contents in their drinks after sugar was shown to be the culprit in the universal obesity crisis.

The market is now flooded with sugar-free drinks - from Zero Coke to Diet Sprite to sugarfree Red Bulls - you name it.

There is a common misconception that sugar-free drinks are better for us, as they contain no sugar or calories. Especially those of us trying to lose weight seem to have jumped onto the bandwagon and made the switch from regular drinks to diet drinks, thinking they are doing themselves a big favour.

This view is certainly fuelled by the soft drink industry - who obviously want to sell us their drinks.

Unfortunately, diet drinks are no better than their regular counterparts and certainly won't help you lose weight.

Put simply, diet sodas are a calorie-free version of regular soda, which basically is carbonated water, artificial flavoring, and artificial sweetener. While regular soda - like Coke, Sprite etc. - are usually sweetened with corn syrup or sugar, diet sodas use a variety of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharine, acesulfame, neotame and sucralose.

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar alternatives that have more intense flavor than real sugar. Over time products like diet sodas dull our senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit. These sugar replacements have been shown to have the same effect on your body as sugar. Artificial sweeteners trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode, which leads to weight gain.

A study by the Weizman Institute of Science, where mice were fed aspartame, saccharine and sucralose found that their blood sugar levels were higher than those of mice fed regular sugar.

Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of about a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. And get this: participants who drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced a 500 percent greater increase!

Furthermore, drinking one diet soda a day is associated with a 36 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Another issue with all those diet drinks are the artificial ingredients you are putting into your body. Ask yourself - how good can artificial colours and flavours really be for your health?? Have you ever seen what Coca Cola can do? From getting rid of rust on your cars chrome bumper to unclogging your garbage disposal to cleaning coins or your toilet. If it can do that, just imagine what it does to your organs!

So - no, diet drinks are not better for you. My tip - stick with water. If you don't like the taste of water, squeeze some lemon in it or add a piece of ginger or some mint leaves.

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