Why you should can the coke

Are you drinking diet cola to stay slim? Think again. Research has shown that artificial sweeteners added to drinks and diet foods actually make you consume more calories than you would otherwise. The brains detects the sweetness but when the body doesn’t get the calories it expects from sweet foods your appetite increases. Unless you’re strictly counting calories you’ll end up eating more. So your regular diet coke is likely to be hindering your efforts to lose weight or making you feel more hungry.

Would a full fat coke be better? The answer is a resounding “NO!” The high sugar content (equivalent to 9 teaspoons of sugar) will trigger a surge of insulin encouraging fat storage. If you want to lose weight eat as little sugar or artificially sweetened foods and drinks as possible.

But that’s not all, drinking frequent cans of diet coke may cause some other nasty side-effects. So here are six more reasons to quit your diet cola habit:

  1. Keep your stomach lining intact. Most carbonated drinks contain phosphoric acid which can erode the stomach lining with regular consumption. The stomach lining protects your stomach wall from acidic stomach juices and is also an important part of your immune system.
  2. Support your digestion. The acidifying effect of phosphoric acid may also suppress production of hydrochloric (stomach) acid, needed for digestion. Without sufficient stomach acid it takes longer to digest your food and you can suffer from indigestion, gassiness or bloating.
  3. Protect your kidneys. Phosphoric acid must be excreted and so too many fizzy drinks puts extra strain on your kidneys.
  4. Strengthen your bones. Acidic drinks causes calcium to leach from your bones in order to neutralise tissue and blood pH (calcium is alkaline). This puts you at greater risk both osteoporosis and kidney stones (as circulating calcium tends to be deposited in the kidneys).
  5. Some research also suggests fizzy drinks may increase the incidence of oesophagus cancers. In countries such as the UK and the USA the occurrence of throat cancers has increased alongside the increase in fizzy drink consumption. In other countries such as China and Japan where fizzy drinks aren’t so popular the incidence of throat cancers has not increased so significantly.
  6. A diet coke contains 47mg of caffeine compared to 75mg in a typical cappuccino. Do you suffer from sleeplessness, anxiety, mood swings or headaches? If so, make an effort to reduce your caffeine intake.

So what should you drink instead? Water should always be your first choice. It really can help you to feel more alert and energised so when you feel you’re flagging reach for some water.

For an afternoon “pick-me-up” choose herbal tea such as peppermint or lemon and ginger. If you really need some caffeine try green or white tea which can be very refreshing but limit yourself to one or two cups per day. If you want a bit of fizz opt for sparkling mineral water with a slice of lime or lemon.

Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Michelle Lake

Hi, I run Mission Nutrition, and I'm a nutritional therapist/ nutritionist helping people all over St Albans & Hertfordshire feel happier & healthier. If your diet needs an overhaul, come and see me for a nutrition consultation! Tel: 01727 893 042 / 01727 869 929 or email michelle@mission-nutrition.co.uk