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Roughly 28 percent of U.S. adults
drink diet soda. Until several months ago
I was one of them. In fact, it’s a habit (oraddiction) that I’ve battled for decades.
Maybe you’ll agree with me that it’s timeto end this battle with a victory.I was introduced to diet soda as anoverweight child at a time when theseproducts were becoming popular as asupposedly better alternative to sugarydrinks. I quickly grew accustomed to theirtaste and soon found that I craved their
unique avor. In my adult years the habit
not only continued but grew along withthe size and availability of the drinks, atrend evidenced by a 2010 Centers for
Disease Control nding that over half of
diet soda consumers drank more than 16ounces at a time. That trend was just one
reection of our culture’s gravity toward
larger portions in general.As an adolescent and young adult,my rationale for drinking diet soda wassimple: there are no calories, they tastegood, and most importantly, I thoughtthey were harmless. But as a doctor, ithas become clear that the issue of dietsoda consumption is neither simple norharmless.While the position of the AmericanDiabetes Association and the AmericanHeart Association is that when NNS
(nonnutritive sweeteners, also known asarticial sweeteners) are used “judiciously,
NNS could facilitate reductions in addedsugars intake, thereby resulting indecreased total energy and weight loss/
weight control, and promoting benecial
effects on related metabolic parameters.”Unfortunately, we know obese
individuals are signicantly more likely
to consume diet drinks compared to non-obese counterparts, and there is mountingevidence that calorie intake actuallyincreases when diet drinks are consumed.This is because hormones that regulateappetite are not stimulated after drinkinga diet beverage compared to a sugary one.Therefore, we eat more. And, to compoundthis problem is the fact that when these beverages are consumed in the presence of a carbohydrate-rich meal, there is actuallya heightened metabolic response that maycause us to gain weight more easily.So, if the possibility of my metabolismgetting worse wasn’t enough to make mequit, the suggestion that diet soda couldput me at increased risk of diabetes andkidney disease was. We know that dietsoda does not alter blood sugar, but dueto complicated factors that are still beingdetermined, their consumption greatlyincreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, andseveral studies have reported the increasedrisk of disturbedkidney function.As with most
inquiry, there is evidence to supportmultiple positions, but for me the growingevidence that regular diet soda intakemay worsen my health was compellingenough for me to call it quits. I think I’ll behealthier for it.
Confssions of Dit Sod Dink
y Dr. Jeff Roush, ND
Foolin wit Nt
Is zero-calorie diet soda boostingyour weight? As Dr. Jeff Roush pointsout above, that may well be true. If so, itwould be just one more example of thingsthat work differently or even oppositelyfrom what you expect when you take themout of context. Let’s start with sweeteners.Sweetness guided our ancestors tosources of life-sustaining calories as wellas vitamin C, which is abundant in freshfruit. The sweetness came from sugars that
were embedded in high-ber foods that
digested slowly, gradually raising bloodsugar levels and satisfying the appetite. Infact, we recently discovered that there aresweetness receptors not just in our mouths but in our guts, apparently to signal acomplex chain of reactions in response toincoming carbohydrates.So what happens when you foolyour body into thinking it’s gettingcarbohydrates when it’s not? It shouldcome as no surprise that when you giveyour body an inappropriate message youget an inappropriate response. You can ask yourself whether the same idea appliesto other things in your diet and lifestyle,
whether it’s avorings, colorings, isolatednutrients, rened our and oils, and so on.
As leading food journalist MichaelPollan has suggested, you can also look at the still-larger contexts of foods, diets,lifestyles and cultures for examples of parts that don’t work as expected whentransplanted into a different context.For example, seaweeds may be fantasticnutritionally, but the Japanese whotraditionally have eaten them have thespecialized genes to digest them; wherethey get fuel, you may get gas.During this Non-GMO Month of October, consider what happens whena gene is taken from one species andtransplanted into another, as in thegenetically-engineered corn and soybeansthat are everywhere in America’sprocessed foods. As famed geneticistDavid Suzuki has said, it’s like movinga note from one symphony to another.It may be a perfectly good note in onecontext, but its meaning and function may be entirely different in another. So theeffect of GMOs on your personal healthcould well be hard to predict.The examples could go on, but our bottom line is that we keep seeing moreand more reasons to stop fooling withnature and make your food Real Food.
Dr. Jeff Roush is a licensed naturopathic physicianpracticing at Natural Medicine Plus in Helena(www.naturalmedicineplus.com). He is availalefor general questions at the Real Food Marketfrom 3-6 pm on Wednesdays.
If you have a topic or question you’d likeaddressed by our doctors in our newsletter,email: email@example.com.
fusesnutrient-richraw vegetables,fruits, nuts,superfoodsand spicesto create healthy snacks. There are 4
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Decadent Blend of Chia & Flax Seedswith Coconut & Cocoa
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organic hot peppersauces come in Habanero, Jalapeno orChipotle Habanero. In addition to being
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White Balsamic Vinegar
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Almond milks are lactose-,soy- and gluten-free, 100% vegan, and theyhave 50% more calcium than cow milk.Unsweetened or Toasted Coconut.
Australian-style yogurts aregluten-free and made with milk fromhappy cows never treated with rBGH.
Six avors: Honey, Blueberry, Lemon,
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