Friday, April 4, 2014

Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda

Ah the controversy. It is funny but there are some people out there who I think are as passionate about their beliefs in soda as they are about who they will vote for in the next election. I realized this last night as I made a post on facebook about needing among other things jelly beans (or pie....I was good with pie) and a Diet Mt. Dew. You would have thought that people knowing I was a fat girl would have screamed NO at the jelly beans or the pie, but instead my poor Diet Mt. Dew became the target of haters. Who knew? Being the rebel that I am though and the fact that I had had a crappy and exhausting afternoon, the Dew won out. Yeah, Diet Dew is kind of my crack. Sorry people, I am weak.

The comment section for my original post about the Diet Dew was somewhat lengthy with some weighing in on the evils of soda in general, while others zeroed in on the "diet" in the Dew and finally others had opinions on the Dew itself and its caffeination (that's a word....right?) qualities. The fact was that as tired as I was last would have taken a lot more than some caffeine to keep me awake. The fact is though....the haters were all right.

Comparing diet soda to regular soda is like asking, "Do you prefer your carbonation with no calories and a ton of chemicals your body can't break down (and in Diet Dews case LOTS of caffeine) or do you prefer your carbonation with 16 -32 T. of sugar (depending on the ounces) along with artificial colors and flavors?" Put in that light....neither option sounds particularly healthy or desirable.

When we talk about regular soda, the beverage that many will defend to the has a long history. Originally soda had natural flavors, sugar and carbonation. It was also a treat and not an everyday drink. In fact I remember as a kid that Pepsi and Coke were the two front runners in soda. My parents purchased them for parties and their occasional enjoyment, but us kids rarely drank soda and if we did it was usually root beer. Most people did not have soda as a daily beverage. In the late 60's, diet soda hit the market in the form of Fresca. My mom liked Fresca and ever so often she would splurge and buy some. Then in the 70's we had TAB. It was heavily marketed and it became the cool and sexy drink of the day. Pepsi then stretched itself a bit and came up with Diet Pepsi. It was the first diet drink I had ever had and I really wasn't a fan, partly because of the sacchariny after taste and partly because I wasn't particularly a Pepsi fan.. Then in the 80's Coke came into the new decade with Diet Coke and I never looked back. I have had a love affair with the Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper and Root Beer ever since. None though have stolen my heart or my taste buds, like the Diet Dew!  Sigh!

Last night though as my Diet Dew was being thrashed about on social media as if it were the root of all evil, I actually did some major thinking as I rebelliously sipped my Dew. First of all, for those that said "if you are going to drink soda, drink regular," to you I say....."What part of FAT GIRL do you not get?" If I want that much sugar in my body, I will just go eat sugar by the cup full. HOWEVER, if we were a civilized society like we were back in the day, then it might be possible to have an 8 oz soda every now and then and have no lasting weight gaining effects. That being said few of us are that disciplined and every now and then doesn't cut it anymore. Most who drink soda (diet or otherwise) drink at least 20oz daily and often much more than that. We are a "sweet" obsessed society and often where that "sweet"comes from is even coming under attack. Is it pure cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup? It really doesn't matter because for most of us....if ingested in large quantities, it all becomes the same thing.....FAT in our bodies. So while the chemicals being consumed during the drinking of the regular soda maybe less, in the long run it is not really any healthier for our bodies and did I mention that those sodas with caffeine in them can also become somewhat addictive often causing major headaches and other signs of physical withdrawal if you try and quit?! Yeah! So there!

Don't get me wrong....I am not in denial. I may love the Diet Dew but I do understand that diet anything in large doses is just as bad, if not worse than regular soda. How can that be you ask? Because as mentioned soda of any type is basically drinking a carbonated can/bottle of chemicals. Stevia is the only "natural" if you can call it that low calorie sweetener and someone told me that it is far too expensive to use in soda otherwise soda would cost a fortune (which might not be a bad thing). At any rate, our bodies were created to process certain foods/beverages and not others. A steady diet of chemicals (especially foods and drinks that claim to be fat free and sugar free) do not work in our bodies properly. Often many of these foods end up as stored fat and one of the side effects of the chemicals in diet drinks are a sugar craving which in the end really defeats the purpose of us drinking it in the first place.....right? Other side effects can be but are not limited to, headaches, body aches and pains, weight gain (yes I am referring to diet soda), gastro intestinal issues and even cancer. When I look at it like Diet Dew kind of changes from the love of my life into more of the abusive boyfriend. Not a good thing!

Those that spoke loudly last night about giving up soda altogether were more on the money than either side of the soda war. Truthfully....water is your best bet and although spoiled to the taste and chemical reaction to our bodies that soda gives us whether it is the caffeine jolt or the unholy and unhealthy attachment we have to it both mentally and physically, we all know that high doses of sugar and/or chemicals on a regular basis has to have negative consequences somewhere down the road. Water though is just water and it gives back to our body without taking away or putting our bodies at risk. It is the only truly healthy beverage out there and sadly the one that most people don't even get a full 8 oz of daily....let alone the 64 oz they should have.

So what exactly am I saying here? If you are trying to make an argument for diet soda vs. regular soda....neither really has a healthy leg to stand on. Both have chemicals, artificial additives and sugar or sweeteners that can affect the body adversely. If you drink them on rare occasions you lower your risk for these negative affects but if you are like a lot of us, the occasional soda is just never enough. If you are looking for the perfect, healthy, no calorie, no fat, no chemical or additive drink.....water is your best bet. 

All of this being said, I have a bottle of Diet Dew seductively sitting on the table in front of me. It keeps beckoning me with it's come hither greenness and the knowledge of what that first sip is going to taste like. AND it is going to be a really long doctor day. I want to be strong but not sure that is going to happen. However, I did make a decision last night. When this bottle is gone, there will be no more. I will weather the headache and the withdrawal (after all it is the weekend and around my house weekend=someone sick or in pain) and by Monday I should be on my way to a Diet Dew free life. I have just decided that life is hard enough......why add the chemicals?

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