The Results of Giving Up Diet Soda

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Just over a year ago now, I read a book that made me question my diet soda-drinkin’ ways. I decided that, while I was not yet convinced aspartame was of the devil, I wasn’t convinced adequate testing had been done on it.

 

So I gave it up.

 

It’s been over twelve months now– more than a year that I’ve gone without one single diet soda. Ditto for gum containing aspartame, sugar-free candies, etc.

 

I decided that some of you might be interested in knowing what impact this switch has had on me– how it’s affected my health and well-being, whether I’ve noticed any changes. So, here’s what has changed…

 

Nothing.

 

That’s the short version. Feel free to stop reading right here if that’s all you wanted to know. But, if you want more details, read on…

 

I don’t really know what I thought might happen when I stopped drinking or eating products containing aspartame. Like I said way back when I read the book, I wasn’t ready to admit that artificial sweeteners are evil poisons with no place in the world. I just wasn’t convinced that adequate testing had really been conducted to ensure their safe use all over the place. I didn’t have any set theories on how giving them up would impact me but, I guess if I’m honest, I was hoping for some noticeable difference, be it good or bad.

 

I had no more nor no less headaches.

 

I’ve never been one of those individuals who suffers debilitating aspartame-induced headaches. I’m not prone to migraines. I do get headaches if I’m dehydrated or super stressed. Nothing has changed in that department.

 

I still cannot STAND regular cola.

 

I did not develop a taste for regular cola. I find it super thick and nasty. I would occasionally order a Sprite or Sierra Mist when we were out and about and I drank a lot of seltzer at home. I actually tried cola several times, thinking my reaction would change with time. It did not.

 

I did not gain weight.

 

I wasn’t sure if I’d put on some poundage if I started consuming calories in beverages. I did not.

 

I also did not lose weight.

 

Some people theorize that diet sodas trigger your brain to crave sugar and, when your body doesn’t actually get it, you are compelled to find it elsewhere, i.e. in sugary foods. I don’t know. There could be some validity there. But I didn’t really notice myself being any more or less likely to grab a cookie. That said, I wasn’t drinking copious amounts of soda, so maybe I just didn’t get enough effect either way.

 

My digestive system remained unchanged.

 

Maybe that artificial stuff messes with your gut? Hmm? Maybe? Still looking for areas where my health might improve, I analyzed this end of the matter, too. Yeah… nothing. I’ve never had significant digestive issues and I still don’t.

 

In conclusion, I feel– and look– exactly the same as I did before I gave it up.

 

Now, that’s not a bad thing, per se, in that I already felt (and looked) fine, really. So I wouldn’t say that it was a mistake to give up aspartame. I also understand that unseen benefits might be occurring here and I’m not trying to downplay that side.

 

Still, generally speaking, if I make a change in the interest of better health, I really do like to see the pay-off. When I work out? I have more energy, look better, feel better. When I snack on, say, cheese rather than cheese puffs? I’m more satisfied, more energized, and have a happier tummy.

 

Was the “no aspartame” thing a failure? Not at all. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a disappointment.

 

“What now?” you might be wondering.

 

Well, I don’t really miss it anymore. So it’s unlikely I’m going to pick up the Diet Coke habit any time in the near future. I’m also not going to start campaigning heavily against aspartame. Quite simply, my experience doesn’t prove any of the horror stories you might hear out there.

 

So if you like your diet soda? Feel free to indulge away. You’ll get no lecture from me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 comments to The Results of Giving Up Diet Soda

  • It’s funny that you posted this because I am struggling with this today. I decided to give up my extreme diet coke addiction back in the summer because of stuff I read about aspartame, and also other sugar free stuff(I am still drinking coffee with splenda though). What I read freaked me out, and I also have thought for years that my grandparents lived to be almost 100 due to their healthy, natural diet…i.e., they weren’t dumping 3-5 cans of chemical diet pop into their bodies every day. It also bothered me that my toddler was watching me drink pop and reaching for it too. I had miserable headaches for 2 days, but gave it up for over a month. I didn’t really notice a difference either I guess. Lately I have been backsliding and drinking Diet Mountain Dew, but I’m trying to stick with water as much as I can. Look at it this way, at least you are saving money not buying pop even if you don’t see much of a difference otherwise! :)

    • That is an EXCELLENT point about saving money, Samantha! (Although I guess I do still buy seltzer… ;)) I’m betting the headaches had as much to do with the caffeine as the aspartame. When I was pregnant with my first, I quit Diet Coke AND black coffee cold turkey and thought I was going to die from the headaches– my doctor later told me never to do that again, that I was shocking my system terribly. I hadn’t realized just how dependent my body had become on that caffeine! (Kind of scary, really…)

  • My addiction was Pepsi. I gave it up because of the caffeine when I was pregnant with my oldest – almost 20 years ago. Now I have a soda every once in a while – but it almost tastes too sicky sweet. I’ve never liked the diet – I get a metallic after taste. Figure my budget and my waistline are better off without them anyway.

    • It really DOES taste so sweet! I only have soda every once in awhile, too. Honestly, with the infrequency with which I drink the stuff, I’m kind of thinking the whole diet vs. regular thing is a wash. :)

  • earleyml

    When I was 18, I was on a Mt Dew kick and drank a lot. Then when I started college I started getting terrible headaches…turned out to just be migraines thankfully. So based on my doctor’s suggestions I gave up caffeine, cold turkey (already getting headaches so that didn’t make a difference). Since then I hardly drink soda and if I do it’s Sprite or Sierra Mist. Like other posters, I have a hard time with my husband (or myself on raw occassions) drinking soda infront of our children. I don’t want them drinking it but I feel like it’s a double standard.

    • You know what I find SO funny? My husband and I always told our kids that soda was a “grown-up” drink and, I kid you not, they never asked for it. Now that they’re getting into grade school, sometimes their friends will offer it at birthday parties. Honestly, we wouldn’t freak out if they had a cup of soda at a party… but they won’t touch it. Does that make them weird kids??

  • Tara

    I gave it up for Lent and tried to make it stick. I went 60 something days. I will try again at some point…

    Just read your post about the book and one of your takeaways was about cheese – I JUST made that realization last week. Can’t believe I didn’t pay attention – I am so vigilent about the kids’ milk!

  • Susan

    so funny! I gave up my 2-3 cans of Diet Coke a year ago because of all the bad articles about ingredients in Diet Coke. I had also noticed my weight increasing (little by little.) I think the Diet Coke did make me crave sweets. I drink more tea now, instead of the Diet Coke but I don’t put any sweeteners in it at all. Just like you, I have not noticed any health differences, minimal weight loss (because I am now actively watching my weight). Mainly, I stopped drinking it because I felt all the chemicals in it were bad for my body (prevent future cancer?) Anyway, I not feeling any different either.

    • Yeah, I keep thinking that I MUST be doing a good thing for my body by avoiding the chemicals and “artificiality” of it all. Still, I must admit I would have LOVED to have more noticeable results of some kind– I like evidence! :)

  • Susie

    I gave up carbonated drinks, which were mainly diet Pepsi, a couple years ago, three I guess. I read that the carbonation might interfere with bone formation, potassium blah blah blah. I don’t remember the details now, but I had a bone scan that was borderline and didn’t want to take those nasty bisphosphonates so I made several changes to my diet. I missed the soda for a few months but don’t care now. And I don’t notice any difference at all, either. My second bone scan was lost or something, so I never saw it or the results, but I didn’t expect anything dramatic there, either :-)
    So you should tell yourself your bones are probably better, maybe. That’s my story!

    • Oooh… now this gives me pause, Susie. Because I DO still drink seltzer, which is carbonated. I always just figured it was fizzy water and totally harmless. I wonder if that’s somehow damaging to my bones??? I had no idea!

  • OK so that sucks you haven’t noticed a difference somewhere, but I feel sure your innards are better!!! You can’t really know if you have dodged a cancer bullet. I have heard the carbonation can leech the good stuff from your bones too. But I think that’s for excessive drinkers, so really you may be just fine.

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