What type of soft drink are you: The type who sometimes enjoys a pinch of fizz and taste, or one who has to have it every day? Because it is calorie-free, you can think of your favorite soft drink as a free drink for everyone … but after a journalist shared the battle over her 40-year-old dieting habits, addiction experts sound the alarm about your health that, as one doctor suggests, we all should be “very concerned” about.
This week has New York Times published an article in which one author, Abby Ellin, revealed that she had been “powerless” over her daily Diet Coke craving for decades. “On several occasions I tried to quit, but I could never deprive myself for more than a week,” Ellin wrote. She could only drop the diet when persistent abdominal pain required a processing of medical diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopy, ultrasound and CT scan … all of which came back unclear.
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Without any other explanation, the author stopped drinking Diet, cold turkey. Then she talked to clinical experts who specialize in the subjects of public health, psychology and diet to reveal what really happens when you can not live without your favorite drink. Keep reading to learn the secret side effects of drinking soda. Also, do not miss eating habits to avoid if you sit all day, say dietitians.
Science says that soda can lead to addiction as serious as, or even worse, than cocaine.
Ellin explains that the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not include diet soda among its list of addictive substances.
However, research suggests that it might be worth considering adding it. Ellin quotes a 2007 study where laboratory rats were forced to choose between saccharin and cocaine, the latter which the researchers described as “a highly addictive and harmful substance”.
Between the two, a remarkable 94 percent of prices chose saccharin over cocaine, although they had previously shown signs of cocaine addiction.
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The fake sweetness drives the craving.
Diet coke is flavored with aspartame, not saccharin, but the two artificial sweeteners can have a similar effect, says a doctor. Ellin spoke with Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM. Peeke, who counts nutrition and public health among his specialties, explains that the aspartame that sweetens soft drinks is largely responsible for why you might want more: Because artificial sweeteners do not actually provide a fix.
As Ellin wrote: “Artificial sweeteners activate the brain’s reward system, but only about half as much as regular sugar,” said Dr. Peeke. “Faux sugar does not pack the same wall as the real stuff, so it makes you want more and more.”
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Caffeine is also guilty.
Ellin says that it is sweeteners, combined with caffeine (another addictive substance), that make diet soda a powerful two-course meal for many who love it.
And the author explains, a 12-ounce jar of Diet Coke has about 33% more caffeine than the 12-ounce Coca-Cola Classic (45 milligrams versus 34 milligrams, respectively). This can serve to make Diet Coke all the more addictive, compared to soda without diet.
Some experts believe that it is time to treat soft drinks like other medicines.
Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and director of the school’s Food and Addiction Science and Treatment Lab.
Via Ellin’s report, Gearhardt said that if Diet Coke, or any soft drink, were a new drug product that had undergone the correct test protocol for its addictive effects, it would probably receive further investigation. As Gearhardt put it: “We would be very worried.”
This is how you know if you need to call back on the diet.
In addition to the abdominal pain she experienced that made her quit Diet Coke for good, Ellin said that for her, the drink began to taste “like I imagine a Tide pod would do.”
In addition to physical symptoms that may indicate that your soda addiction has gone too far, Gearhardt described the following symptoms as some recognizable signs of addiction:
- When you lose control of a suction.
- When you consume it, even though you know you should not.
- When you deal with it, you are sent through withdrawals.
There is more you may want to know about soft drinks.
Research has shown that soft drinks can affect your liver, intestinal health, insulin levels, your weight and more. Read the surprising side effects of not drinking diet soda, say dietitians.
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