Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Saving Calories or Just fooling Myself?

Diet Sodas good for you? This would be my dream come true. But there is no way that any marketing plan can convince me that aspartame is a nutrient. Or that it doesn't affect your brain cells. I've tried diet Coke with Splenda. Too sweet.

I've always tried to save a few calories here and there - and have become accustomed to the taste of diet Coke and like it. On the other hand, my husband who hates diet coke, becomes easily addicted to the regular. Then he quits and loses lots of weight - the Cad. My mother quit eating sugar and lost 30 pounds. I rarely eat sugar, so that leaves the only thing I can give up - FOOD. Anyway, does this make the following article a crock? Does the following explain my weight gain over the last ten years? Hmmmmm. "Food" for thought -

Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?
Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink
Daniel J. DeNoon WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by
Charlotte Grayson Mathis, MD
June 13, 2005 -- People who drink diet soft drinks don't lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows.
The findings come from eight years of data collected by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Fowler reported the data at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.
"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler tells WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."
In fact, when the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.
"There was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day," Fowler says.
More Diet Drinks, More Weight Gain
Fowler's team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.
For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
26% for up to 1/2 can each day
30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.
For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.
For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person's risk of obesity went up 41%.
Diet Soda No Smoking Gun
Fowler is quick to note that a study of this kind does not prove that diet soda causes obesity. More likely, she says, it shows that something linked to diet soda drinking is also linked to obesity.
"One possible part of the explanation is that people who see they are beginning to gain weight may be more likely to switch from regular to diet soda," Fowler suggests. "But despite their switching, their weight may continue to grow for other reasons. So diet soft-drink use is a marker for overweight and obesity."
Why? Nutrition expert Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, puts it in a nutshell.
"You have to look at what's on your plate, not just what's in your glass," Bonci tells WebMD.
People often mistake diet drinks for diets, says Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutrition consultant to college and professional sports teams and to the Pittsburgh Ballet.
"A lot of people say, 'I am drinking a diet soft drink because that is better for me. But soft drinks by themselves are not the root of America's obesity problem," she says. "You can't go into a fast-food restaurant and say, 'Oh, it's OK because I had diet soda.' If you don't do anything else but switch to a diet soft drink, you are not going to lose weight."
The Mad Hatter Theory
"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly."I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more.""You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "It's very easy to take more than nothing." Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
There is actually a way that diet drinks could contribute to weight gain, Fowler suggests.
She remembers being struck by the scene in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice is offended because she is offered tea but is given none -- even though she hadn't asked for tea in the first place. So she helps herself to tea and bread and butter.
That may be just what happens when we offer our bodies the sweet taste of diet drinks, but give them no calories. Fowler points to a recent study in which feeding artificial sweeteners to rat pups made them crave more calories than animals fed real sugar.
"If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, but it isn't there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is something there and it will search for the calories promised but not delivered," Fowler says.
Perhaps, Bonci says, our bodies are smarter than we think.
"People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn't fooled," she says. "If you are not giving your body those calories you promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite."

Last week I watched the movie, Super Size Me. That is something that will scare you away from McDonalds forever. Maybe junk food forever.

I just watched an ad on TV from one of the restaurants in town, offering finer food in smaller quantities at more reasonable prices. Now, that's a concept I like. Going to a restaurant and finding a huge mound of food on my plate is not my idea of a happy dining experience. I have to pack at least half of it home in a box, and then it sits in the refrig until it thrown out.


Red said...

I have a friend who eats the worst diet I can think of: mountains of chocolate, lots of fried food, chips with everything and everything drowned in ketchup. But she drinks Diet Coke, and her rationale is: "Well, yes, but at least I save a few calories on the drinks. " Er... not quite the point, is it?

Personally, I don't drink much pop because it triggers IBS attacks, so I have learned to steer well clear of the stuff, or risk spend the rest of the evening racked with pain. But even when I used to drink it, I hated the taste of Diet Coke. And haven't they found links between aspartame and diabetes? Either way, those things are full of evil ingredients, and my advice to you would be to stay away from them.

As for losing weight... I'm in the same position as you: already I don't eat much sugar (I don't have a palate for sweet stuff; no biscuits or ice cream or desserts for me); I don't eat fried foods (much)... what on earth can I give up? It seems that the only solution for me is to give up food full stop. Now, who wants to do that?!? Not me.

Gardenia said...

Yeh - it doesn't look like the stuff is good for us, sugared or unsugared, does it? re: weight - food is unique in that we can't cold turkey as it is a necessary ingredient for survival. Curse those low metabolisms. Alcohol we can quit. Smoking we can quit...but water & food - just won't work that way.

Red, sorry about the IBS - that can be pretty miserable.

Karen said...

I've always joked that if you had, for example, a diet coke and a chocalte bar, the calories that you would have gotten from the chocolate are canceled out by the ones you're not getting from the diet coke therefore you're getting no calories. Truthfully I never believed it...honest...

I hate the taste of diet coke, aspartame, etc. I've noticed that friends who drink diet soda are just as addicted as those who drink the regular. I also read that there's something about soda (diet and regular) that makes us crave food when we drink it. How many of us have a glass of coke just on it's own? When you really look at our habits, we tend to always eat something when we drink one. It certainly is true with me - I always crave a nibble when I've having a soda.

Supersize me was a great doc. And it certainly kept me off of fast food (at least for a couple of months). I would also recommend reading Fast Food Nation (although avoid the movie as I heard it wasn't so good...). It put me off beef for about 6 months.

Karen said...

Gardenia, I just noticed your comment on Candy's blog about starting to read The Idiot. I LOVED Crime and Punishment (well, except for the ending..what the hell was he thinking when he wrote it?). I've got a number of Dostoyevsky's books on my wishlist and would love to hear what you think of The Idiot when you're done.

Gardenia said...

karen - will let you know, if I ever finish it. Maybe it will be a "can't put it downer." I found it on my headboard - bought it over 2 years ago before leaving for Wyo - shoulda took it with for those cold winter nights....

Lee said...

I lovelovelove Diet Coke but think it's made some kinda pact with Satan. How can something so good have nothing in it!?

Candy Minx said...

Yea!!! I found your blog...I seem to have hit and miss luck coming here Gardenia...and I can't figure out why? Sorry...

Well, I don't drink very much pop. But...when I do it's diet coke but it's a once a month or so desire. I am sure it's horribly bad for you and I am now inspired to actually never drink it again. Oh wait, I drink tonic water with vodka or gin. Oops.

As for weight loss...well I can PROMISE you how to lose weight. It's ano-brainer.

Stop eating so many empty carbs. Empty carbs include pop, chocolate bars, sugar, potatoes, noodles, rice and bread.

You stop eating empty carbs and you will lose five pounds the first week. Then you will lose 2-3 pouns the following couple of weeks, no hassle.

The thing is...many of us are addicted to the idea and comfort of empty carbs...we have been programed and hypnotized to believe we "need" them.

All food has carbohydrates in them and we do need carbs...just not empty carbs.

I suggest for two weeks to cut out all empty carbs from you food and meals. Make servings of steak and salad and brocoli one night. Buy lots of berries and whole milk organic yogurt for breakfast. for lunch have caulifower, cheese, salad and maybe tuna fish or salmon.

JUST for two weeks...then if you must eats noodles or bread...once or twice a week with a meal.

What is tricky is that we get used to cooking around the empty carbs...all you need to do is have a large serving of salad...put cheese on your salad, and avacado, radishes, cucumber and tomatoes...with a small serving of protein, like a meatloaf...tofu, steak(you only need 3 ounces of steak...I get one large steak and share it with Stagg for dinner)

Eat he cabbage family every day: brocoli, cauliflower kale chard, brussel sprouts or cabbage...honestly...

with a gallon of water a won't know what happened to you. You will feel more energy.

No one believes me though...until they actually try it. For the friends who have tried this...they struggle for the first week...torture craving noodles and bread...they feel they don't have anything toeat...but just go ahead and eat lots of vergies and fill up you can eat all the meat you want and you will still lose a few pounds int he first two weeks.

After that, your body will feel better and will begin to lose the obsessionw ith empty carbs a little.

its more of a decision though, an acceptance that you are eating better.

Noodles and bread turn to sugar very fast and that is hard for digestion and makes us sluggish.

Lack of water and too many empty carbs make us tired and epressed.

Sorry towrite all this stuff and I know I'm a broken record...


Gardenia said...

Any suggestions are appreciated. Well, bread - I buy one loaf of Ezekial sprouted wheat bread per month. That's my bread. Noodles - never. OOoops, a couple of noodle soups a month. Potatoes - never, but brown rice - 2 or 3 times a week. Oops, spaghetti last night - ok, THERE we go, some places to watch closer! My family gets annoyed because my idea of eating pizza is to scrape the top off. Turnip greens are my thing! Yum. All the time. Salads are good - need more. Love them. I slurp out of a glass of ice water or iced green tea all day. Went on Atkins once and even cut out fruit - lost immediately! That's where I got turned on to the no-carb pizza. A problem is lately I just can't tolerate the thought of meat, and beans are fattening.

Sorry about it being hard to get on blog - I've almost decided to do away with the privacy controls - except the thought of the ghouls from the County reading into my private life creeps me out - I shouldn't care! They are still covering their butts over an illegal firing...I know they will still be browsing for ammunition of any kinds.

Anyway, I've ordered my cannisters of Super Food - and am ready to rock & roll.

ldbug said...

I love diet pop! Mostly I love it b/c I have to sit at a stupid desk all day and I need the caffeeeeeeneee

I don't eat with it, though.

I need to cut out pasta all together!

Pickled Olives said...

I drink coffee, red wine, selter/sparkling water, regular water, vodka or rum in that order. Occasionally if I am really hung over I want a soda fountain regular coke. But I have been know to drink diet coke on the rare occasion. I quit fast food unless we are traveling and it literally is the only option.

Once I ingest fast food and sodas it takes about a week to get the cravings back out of my system. It's prety scarey.