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This nutrition blog and classes have moved to DuPage Family Wellness. Same doctor,  Jamie Tripp Thomure DC, same location in Warrenville, new website. Please visit our new home! The blog comes out every week!

Foods: Beat the Creep Blog

Diet Soda: It Might Not Save As Many Calories as You Think

I drank a large diet soda yesterday after lunch. Later in the afternoon, I was so hungry. Since  I eaten  good size lunch, I wondered why I was so hungry.  Then it dawned on me, the diet soda was  different than normal. Time to do some research.

First some background.

I grew up drinking diet soda.  I always thought that sugar soda was bad because it had so many calories, and there was nothing wrong with diet sodas. My dad was a diabetic pharmacist, so I always had diet soda in the house, and I always heard about  the latest sweeteners: Sucaryl, Cyclamates, Aspartame, Nutrisweet, Splenda, etc. Wikipedia has the history of Diet Coke, with all its different sweeteners and variations. I drank them all.

I don't remember when I stopped drinking Diet Coke/Pepsi (aka diet brown, our generic term since I didn't care whether it was Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, Diet Rite, or Tab).  I know that when Dr. Tripp was in chiropractic school, she started reminding me regularly that I should stop drinking diet soda. I thought that the reason was that the soda, including its artificial sweeteners, contains all sorts of chemicals that are bad for you.  I do not remember a big decision to change. I just gradually replaced the diet brown with water, and later realized that I rarely drink Diet Coke/Pepsi anymore.

So I tried diet soda again ...

After not having diet brown for along time, I had a diet coke about a month ago. At that time, I thought it was sweet, and I remember thinking that it wasn't as great as I remembered. Yesterday, I was out doing errands and was just plain thirsty. I didn't want to pay big bucks for a small  bottled water, so I bought a super-sized fountain drink. Not only did I drink it easily, I refilled it and had another one. It quenched my thirst, but about an hour or two later I became so hungry. I ate an apple and then a plum, and was still hungry when dinner time came around.

I remembered  that recently Dr. Tripp told me that artificial sweeteners might trick your body into chemical reactions that cause you to be hungrier. I decided to do a little research. I found several sites that said:

Aspartame contains phenylalanine which causes insulin to be released triggering hunger.

I found many studies out there -- making different claims, some conflicting, but none giving me unequicocal evidence that the above statement is true. It's  hard to know what is correct.  "They" will continue to argue whether the artificial sweeteners causes problems or not. But I know water doesn't  have a long list of artificial ingredients, has zero calories, and doesn't make me hungry. Common sense tells me that it is the healthier choice. I will not ban diet brown from my diet, and will still drink it from time to time, just not every day. Would I have eaten the extra plum yesterday if I hadn't  had the diet coke? Hard to say - at least it wasn't a bag of chips.

 

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