Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Diet Sodas Cause Weight Gain and Depression?

I love Diet Pepsi. I crave Diet Pepsi. It started a few years ago when tea began to cause my tongue to burn, so I started drinking Diet Pepsi. I didn't want to consume sugar, couldn't drink tea, and get very tired of water. Okay, there are my excuses.

I'd like to summarize this article on how drinking diet sodas causes weight gain and depression. I need to assimilate the information and become convinced to stop this addiction.

Purdue University found that rats given artificial sweeteners gained more weight than those given sugar. That seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Another study found that 18,000 people who consumed one diet beverage a day increased their risk of metabolic disorders and other health problems by 30%-40%. A controlled study of 80,000 women who consume artificial sweeteners put on more weight per year than those who didn't. It seems that with the use of artificial sweeteners, your food urges increase, causing greater consumption of sugar and sugary foods.

It's a balancing act
When you've received enough energy from a meal, your mouth, stomach, intestines, and liver send messages to your brain that all energy requirements have been met. Subsequently, your nervous system secretes hormones telling you that all energy requirements have been met and you are "full." So, if you don't eat enough at one meal to fulfill the energy requirements, your body will try to make up for it during the next meal. On the flip side, if you eat too much, your body will signal that it requires less energy at the next meal. Your body strives to keep its energy distribution balanced.

Because artificial sweeteners are low-energy and non-physiological, your body signals "low energy," which stimulates the desire for food. Whenever you're not meeting the energy needs of your body, it will continue to crave more, which leads to chronic over-eating. You will crave high-carb, and sugar-filled foods that will give you quick energy, but they are also "empty" energy, raising your blood sugar for a short time, but then plummeting to below-normal levels. When your blood sugar level drops below normal, it can cause depression, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Deceiving your body
Because artificial sweeteners are detected by your body as a "sweet," and because sugar can move straight through the stomach walls, ending up in your blood stream within 3-5 minutes, your body regulates sugar through a reflex mechanism that starts in the tongue. When sugar touches the taste buds, the pancreas is signaled to secret insulin, which is required by the cells. But when you've consumed artificial sweeteners, rather than receiving the sugar it expected, your body receives protein compounds. The pancreas has already done its job, sending out insulin into the bloodstream searching for sugar, and when it doesn't find it, it removes blood sugar instead. This, of course, lowers your blood sugar, which then signals the "hunger" alarm for your body to increase blood sugar, which leaves you craving sugary foods. You can see what a vicious cycle this sends your body through.

A serious situation can arise when your body is given a constant supply of artificial sweeteners. Since the sweeteners continually trigger your taste buds, the brain maintains an almost continuous urge to eat. At the same time, the liver is instructed by the brain to store sugar supplies rather than release them, which causes chronic fatigue. The pancreas eventually realizes it has been cheated and reduces secretion of insulin, and the body reacts with depression.

And it gets better . . .

Once aspartame has hit the intestinal tract, it is converted into "two highly excitatory neurotransmitter amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as well as into methyl alcohol (wood-grain alcohol) and formaldehyde (embalming fluid)."

Wood alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances that result from eating artificial sweeteners. It may directly enter the bloodstream and move through the brain barrier into the central nervous system where it can influence the neurotransmitters, alter brain function, and cause brain damage. Wood alcohol can cause blindness and formaldehyde can cause cancer. In some cases aspartame may suppress appetite and “kill” AGNI, the digestive fire, altogether. Both can lead to quick, excessive weight gain. According to Consumer Reports, aspartame has a shelf life of between two and three months. After that it begins to break down and pose an increasing danger to the consumer. The same occurs when aspartame or an aspartame-containing food is heated.

Other sweeteners besides aspartame have similar effects. Added to soft drinks, they are now even linked with testicular damage and other key areas of the body.

Can I stop drinking Diet Pepsi? Ugh. The thought is overwhelming. I love its sweety goodness and tingly sensation. It would be helpful if there were natural alternatives that didn't cost the earth. Why do foods that are less processed cost more? I guess that's an issue for another post. Even now my mind wants to justify why it isn't "that bad" to drink Diet Pepsi. I'll just be "aware" of its effect to cause me to want to eat more and not give into it. Maybe I'll drink it only with protein? Or sugar? Boy, I am really grasping here. Rationalization is a powerful thing. Which reminds me of Jeremiah 17:9: "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?"

No comments: