If you would like to give up diet soda for good, here are five big reasons why Diet Coke and other diet sodas can be so damaging to your health and energy. Hopefully this list can provide the motivation needed to follow through with the Three Step Plan for Giving Up Diet Soda coming up next.
1) Aspartame in Diet Soda
The artificial sweetener aspartame, in many diet sodas like Diet Coke, is made from two free-form amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, and the toxic alcohol methanol.
Without the usual slow digestion and other competing amino acids, free-form phenylalanine can hit the bloodstream very quickly and potentially cross the blood brain barrier in unnaturally large amounts.
Too much free-form phenylalanine may reduce serotonin (the ‘happy’ neurotransmitter) in the brain and excessive phenylalanine has been linked to hypertension, headaches, aggression and behavior problems with children.
The free-form aspartic acid in diet soda is also believed to cross the blood brain barrier and in large enough amounts is classed as an excitotoxin – a substance that overexcites nerve function in the brain, potentially even to the point where the brain cells actually die.
The methanol in aspartame converts in the body to toxins formaldehyde and formic acid. While these substances are in small amounts with a single can of diet soda sweetened with aspartame, why you’d want such potentially destructive substances in your body in any amount is beyond me.
Besides, who drinks just one can of Diet Coke these days? With the amount of diet soda some people claim to be drinking each day, is the amount of methanol going into their bodies really all that small?
2) Diet Coke and Addictive Caffeine
Caffeine is an addictive substance added to colas (perhaps to ensure repeat business) that elevates our stress hormones like cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline and increases our heart rate and blood pressure.
Adrenaline should really only be triggered by the bodies ‘fight or flight’ response. Having it ‘on’ all the time, in the way regular caffeine consumption can make it, leads to a lot of stress on our adrenal glands. While we may have energy (or is it anxiety) while the coffee is hitting our adrenals, once it wears off most people end up feeling more tired and irritable than they would have without it.
Caffeine is also a diuretic that can increase fluid flushing through our kidneys, leading to a frequent need to visit the bathroom and a loss of minerals and other important health nutrients.
Caffeine addiction is a very common problem in the USA and around the Western world. The series on giving up diet soda has details on caffeine withdrawal support. In it, there is a herbal adaptogen that can help our adrenal glands when we’re getting over a caffeine addiction and reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
3) Phosphoric Acid and Diet Coke
Diet Coke is rated as very acidic with a pH of around 3.2. Phosphoric acid is responsible for most of this acidity.
Aside from the potential damage to the digestive tract itself from this acid, phosphoric acid seems to reduce the secretion of hydrochloric acid when we drink it with a meal. This reduction of hydrochloric acid leads to poor digestion of food, particularly with protein meals. Undigested protein in the gastrointestinal tract leads to many digestive problems and is a major cause of flatulence.
Another health problem can be created by Diet Coke’s phosphoric acid when it reaches our small intestine. The small intestine will not tolerate this kind of acidity and it has a buffering system to neutralize it. This phosphate buffering system utilizes minerals like calcium phosphate, stored in the body to counter act acids like phosphoric acid.
When we drink acid drinks like diet soda regularly, the buffering system needs more and more minerals to do its job. Eventually, unless your intake of minerals like calcium is extremely high, your body is forced to draw minerals from your bones just to neutralize all of the acids you keep pouring into it. Once that happens often enough, we are on a slippery slope to osteoporosis and more likely to fracture our bones as they become brittle and weakened.
4) Sulfite-Ammonia Caramel Coloring E150d in Diet Coke
Sulfite-ammonia caramel coloring E150d is made by applying high heat and pressure to sugar mixed with ammonia and sulfites. The food safety agency actually lets manufacturers call this chemical ‘natural coloring’. I’d say it’s pretty far from that.
In fact, this very unnatural E150d caramel coloring has been shown to produce the byproducts 2- and 4-methylimidazole. There are concerns these two byproducts may be carcinogenic and the Center for Science in the Public Interest has formally requested the FDA to remove sulfite-ammonia caramel coloring from the list of generally recognized as safe foods.
5) Weight Gain from Drinking Diet Soda
Despite the marketing hype, some research has shown that diet soda can actually lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. This is believed to be due to the way aspartame and other artificial sweeteners stimulate hunger and train our palate to expect foods to be super sweet. Having zero calories means nothing if your diet cola is making you crave sugary foods and eat more calories overall.
Give Up Diet Coke
This is what we’ve been putting our poor bodies through. If you’re ready to give up Diet Coke and replace it with healthier alternatives, coming up next is a three part plan for giving up diet soda for good. This plan also deals with caffeine and aspartame withdrawal and provides healthy replacements to Diet Coke and other colas to make the transition as simple as possible.