Diet Soda and Diabetes – a Bad Marriage
iet soda had its humble beginnings in 1952 when Kirsch Bottling from Brooklyn, New York introduced a ginger ale sugar free soda called No-Cal. It was a product specifically created for diabetics and had local distribution only. The industry quickly discovered that it could be marketed to a new public wanting to lose weight. Diet soda industry was born. Soon Royal Crown announced the Diet Rite in 1958.
Consumption was still slow due to perceived notion this was a diabetic medicine. Advertising took care of that in 1962. Dr Pepper released its diet version and in 1963, Coca-Cola Company joined the market with its cyclamates and saccharin sweetened mega hit named Tab. Pepsi followed suit releasing Diet-Pepsi in 1960 and others begin production of diet sodas sweetened with saccharins as well.
A study was released in 1977 claiming saccharin to be a carcinogen and a ban petition was put in place by the FDA but the ban was lifted in 1991. During this phase however many companies cut down in production or had to re invented their formula using other forms of sweeteners due to bad press; the standard became NutraSweet which is a brand name for Aspartame. Recently two other sweeteners have been used: sucralose (marketed as Splenda) and acesulfame potassium. As proof of the astronomical success of diet colas; Diet Coke became the number one selling diet soda in the world. But there are trouble on the horizon.
Today there is an avalanche of anti diet cola articles and research. From top notch scientific studies to youtube inflammatory videos claiming it to be from the devil; one can easily quench their thirst for bad news. Serious studies however point out that the biggest problem with diet colas is not so much what’s in it but actually what is not; in other words the problems might be with our body’s reaction to a false signal; that we are about to have a shot of sugar but we’re not.
Its in the brain stupid
The focus of this article is not to expose how many strange chemicals you swallow on a diet soda. I want to bring up aspects less explored or not so obvious which could be the major reasons why diet soda is not a good idea if you have diabetes. Diet soda is bad for diabetes because it plays a trick in your brain but your body knows it. The basic idea of diet soda is a deception: to have a drink that smell like sugar, taste like sugar but it is not sugar and we drink wanting to believe it is sugar but we know it’s not. Your gut is being fooled; but the gut is smart as we shall find out. Not only the gut knows what is going on but your brain pleasure/reward pathway is what we should be concerned about. If you play tricks with your this pathway there will sure cause a backlash. You are asking for trouble if you wave your favorite drug in front of the dopamine receptors just to say “sorry this is not fructose you just got jigged”. There is a consequence and in this case you’ll simply seek that pleasure in any other way you can, the result can be visible, specially if you look at your waist line.
But what exactly happens?
Putting it simply we end up eating more than we need in order to rectify the unfulfilled reward promise. We as human beings have for years enjoyed an amazing regulatory mechanism which controls how much we need to eat. We first need to understand the biochemistry of the body and the signaling mechanisms that have helped us keep the balance between energy usage and huger. The first is the starvation signal which is driven by the hormone leptin. This hormone produced by your fat cells tells your brain you are satisfied and signal your body to start working and stop eating. Once fat is produced leptin goes to work, and makes you stop eating. When you don’t get leptin signaling your brain is on starving mode and you start eating. The other signaling mechanism is in your reward center or nucleus accumbens. In this centers is the dopamine receptors that is at work. Seeking pleasure drive us to eat and when we are satisfied we stop. Its only when we over stimulate the reward center we run into trouble.
This is how addiction comes into place. If we stimulate these dopamine receptors constantly 24/7 we begin to deregulate the system and create addiction. Every addiction has the same pattern in the reward centers; we have to consume increasingly larger amounts of that which gives us pleasure to get the same amounts of reward, because if too much dopamine is release the receptor become resistant. This is true with every drug and its also true with food and sugar. Food can be an addiction and the consumption of soda plays a huge role in food addiction. Food addiction is a wall known syndrome.
The soda porn
In a way diet soda works in the same way porn works in the brain because it is just a surrogate for the real thing. Drinking diet soda trying to fulfill your crave for sugar is like trying to get sexual satisfaction by watching a porn movie; you just going to get more horny and if you keep doing that on regular basis you’ll get pretty ding-dong in your head. If you are having addiction problems with food and soda you are increasing your dopamine release to a point you built resistant and therefore need increasingly larger dopamine doses to feel the same. Diet soda is worst then regular soda in this respect. Your brain now is getting a sinister signaling. Everything indicates you are going to get your fix but actually its just a tease and no sugar goes to your reward center. Your brain gets fooled for a moment but soon will slap you back with an overwhelming desire to eat. These urges happen in a subconscious level and sometimes just plain conscious, it is simply going to make your desire for sugar that much more present.
This might explain why recent research correlates obesity, belly fat with diet soda consumption. but the fat is not coming from the diet soda we know it doesn’t have any sugar, its coming from the excess food your are seeking and eating. So diet soda aggravate addiction by further increasing the dopamine release and offering even less reward because it doesn’t deliver on its promises. The other evil item in this equation is the feedback loop it creates. Because people know diet soda does not have sugar they indulge in it drinking even larger amounts thus making the problem worst by increasing the false offer and also increasing the never satisfying quest for that reward.
Some tips on how to quick the soda habit
The best thing you can do is to simply not drink any type of soda. If you are diabetic and want to have soda you might as well have the regular kind but just don’t have too much. The only way to quick the habit is motivation but a little help can go a long way.
Why acid reflux medications is one of the fastest selling drugs? Why Americans have the highest calcium consumption in the world but poor bone health? How can diet sodas with zero calories make you gain weight? Are some of the questions explained in this video
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Check out 5 surprisingly side effects of consuming diet sodas.
It’s called diet soda, but just because it says ‘diet’ doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Find out more about these nasty side effects with John and Cara on TYTU! Tweet: http://clicktotweet.com/BZ9He
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Amount of artificial sweeteners in diet sodas
|Soda||Saccharin (mg)||Aspartame (mg)||Acesulfame K (mg)||Sucralose (mg)|
|Diet Coke, caffeine free||0||125||0||0|
|Diet Coke with Splenda||0||0||30||40|
|Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi||0||118||0||0|
|Diet Pepsi Lime||0||83||21||0|
|Diet Pepsi Vanilla||0||83||21||0|
|Diet Dr. Pepper||0||123||0||0|
|Diet Mountain Dew||0||57||18||18|
|Barq’s Diet Root Beer||0||66||41||0|
- Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)*
- Ingestion of Diet Soda Before a Glucose Load Augments Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Secretion
- Attenuated GLP-1 secretion in obesity: cause or consequence?
- Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes
- Sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverage consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in men
- Effects of Diet Soda on Gut Hormones in Youths With Diabetes
- Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long-term Weight Gain
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