Diet Soda or High Blood Sugar Soda? The Not So Healthy Choice
When you order a diet soda instead of the regular flavor, you assume you’re making a better choice for your health, while still indulging. Despite previous studies which touted its blood sugar-friendly nature thanks to a lack of sucrose, this common misconception may be inching you closer to high blood sugar than further away.
As recent as 2011, health advocates believed that artificial sweeteners such as NutraSweet or aspartame, had no connection to a rise in insulin within the body, allowing diabetics to indulge freely. However, France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research recently stated that they had found otherwise.
Shine.Yahoo.com reported: “Drinking just one 12-ounce can of an artificially sweetened fizzy drink per week can increase your risk of high blood sugar by 33 percent, French researchers found…” But why is that?
The Diet Science
You choose diet soda for any number of reasons, one of which is to make the healthier choice. However, despite what you see on the nutrition label, zeros (“O”) in every category you care about – fat, sugar, and calories – it may not be as healthy as you’d like you to believe.
The reason you are seeing all zeros is the inclusion of artificial sugar that takes the place of traditional sucrose – this is called aspartame, and can be found in many other diet foods such as yogurt, flavored water and more.
While this artificial sweetener has long been controversial for its potential carcinogenic properties, French Scientists now know that it’s the driving force behind high blood sugar. When enjoying a can of diet soda you are sending your blood sugar on a roller coaster:
- Each sip causes a rise in glucose (blood sugar) within your body, which causes a rise in insulin.
When these two things happen your body begins to crave more, causing you to head for seconds – and therein-lies the problem. This new study, conducted with over 66 thousand middle-aged women, found that diet-soda drinkers had 2.8 glasses a week, as compared to 1.6 for those who consumed regular.
Choosing the Better Option
If you’re already diagnosed with or at risk for high blood sugar diet soda is far from recommended. So, if you’re drinking diet soda to stave high blood sugar or control your insulin, you may want to consider your other options.
Whether you turn to diet soda for a caffeine fix or you just want something bubbly, there are a handful of healthier options you can choose instead.
- Caffeine: Coffee or caffeinated tea are better options, in moderation.
- Bubbly: Indulge in unsweetened seltzer water – if you don’t like it plain, mix in naturally frozen fruit.
- Other options include milk, traditional V8 (not V8 splash which also contains artificial sweeteners), naturally flavored tea (hot or cold).
If you’re an avid drinker, taking away the one or two diet sodas you drink a day can seem nearly impossible. So, if you can’t go cold turkey, start by eliminating two or more a week, and ease into it. This will allow you to see what other drinks satisfy you making the transition more comfortable.