Are sugar free drinks ok?
The longer I’m in this nutrition, health and fitness industry, the more I see it fail to understand that the goal is to help people just be better TODAY than they were yesterday…
(it’s why I have something really exciting to share with you soon….more on that another day)
Not make me people extreme with their dietary beliefs, like it’s some cult…
So, I had this question:
‘I like diet drinks, like coke, should I be worried about sweeteners? they stop me picking but I’ve read they’re full of crap and worse for you and bad for your gut health? I also read I should be having more variety in my foods but I struggle with time and planning”
Well, I’m just going to tell what the science says…this is NOT my opinion..
And firstly just say:
What is the alternative?
If you didn’t have the sugar free drink, what would you have instead?
I say that because we are often worried about the sweetener
Forgetting that if we then go and find our head in the biscuit tin instead
What is worse?
Now I spoke about this more in this short 5 minute video HERE
So let’s debunk this artificial sweetener stuff:
1. You may hear that aspartame contains methanol. This is true. However, the amount found in aspartame is far LESS than found in FOOD.
Example: 1 serving of Tomato juice contains 4 to 6 times more methanol than the same amount of a diet coke…
It is important to remember that the human body is able to process small amounts of methanol from foods, such as fruits, grains, vegetables, beans, tomato, and aspartame…
Like anything, the devil is in the dose. Too much water can kill you. Eating too many apple seeds is poisonous. Lectins found in beans are toxic if not cooked and prepared properly…
And speaking of dose..
2) They gave 18-60 year olds 1050mg of aspartame AKA which is equivalent to about 6 cans of diet coke a day for 12 weeks and found:
* No impact on appetite as some people say
* No impact on blood sugar levels or impact on insulin levels (which can be predictors of Type 2 diabetes)
Suggesting that if a diet / sugar free drinks stops you losing control and having your head in the biscuit tin?
In fact, if it helps you lose weight, lose fat around your organs (which reduces your chances of conditions like Type 2 diabetes) and improve your health…
Then that’s way more important than worrying about the minutia…
3) One study actually found that diet drinks were superior to water in weight loss due to people feeling like they had a ‘treat’
NOW, you may be thinking:
So why is it often reported that they are bad?
Well, when you look at observational studies…
You see that people who smoke, don’t exercise, drink and generally have poor lifestyle habits..
Naturally also have more fizzy drinks…
Whereas when they do controlled studies, it is clear that sugar free drinks are better than sugary drinks …
Most of the time we’re looking to blame ONE thing, when in reality what they show is that habits, accountability, and support seem to be that ONE thing
(not gluten, dairy, or quinoa <<< Can you pronounce that? IF not, apparently you shouldn’t eat it because if you can’t pronounce it then it’s a ‘chemical’ ;-))
Now, I’m not saying sweeteners are healthy.
They contain ZERO nutrition. And – of course – water is better than any diet drink.
And if you had lots and lots of sugar free drinks…sure, it’s probably not a good thing..
But too much of anything isn’t a good thing…
Whether that is tomatoes, beans, or even water….
Finding a plan that you can stick to so you can keep the weight off is about personalising it for YOU.
Which means making the smallest step you can make TODAY. If that means curbing your biscuit tin rampage with a sugar free drink? Then go for it.
At the end of the day, overeating sugar and fat is killing more of us than sweeteners right now…