A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My time scouring the internet for new and useful information on health and weight loss has turned up the following possible (and scary) side effects related to the daily consumption of artificial sweetening agents:
  • The taste of sweetness in the mouth triggers a release of insulin in the body.  Since there’s no actual sugar being consumed, that insulin will cause blood sugar to be stored in body tissues.  Because actual blood sugar does not increase, this can cause hypoglycemia or hyperinsulinemia, both of which  cause the consumption of more food at the next meal.  Due to these effects, overall calorie intake increases over time along with body weight.
  • The natural  feeling of fullness and satisfaction is not achieved with the consumption of artificial sweetener as it is with sugar, leading to a dissatisfied end state and cravings for more sweet.
  • Population based studies have turned up evidence of increased overall weight gain among diet soda consumers over time.
It is important to note that the actual scientific experiments performed in the studies above were performed on rats, not human beings.  Still, the results are disquieting.

Personally I only drink diet soda (two to three cans a day) at dinnertime.  Dinnertime is also the meal at which I habitually overeat.  Breakfast and lunch are not my trouble zones, and breakfast and lunch for me are almost always accompanied by water.

Is the diet soda stimulating my appetite?

Following my long tradition of using myself as a guinea pig (since no one else will let me experiment on them) I have given up artificial sweeteners as of two days ago.  So far I feel fine, about normal.  Maybe a bit headachy but my insomnia has been bad lately so I blame that more than withdrawal.  It’s also possible that since diet soda was my main vehicle for the delivery of caffeine that my headache is just caffeine withdrawal.

Note that I am not going to chow down on real sugar instead, that stuff (although natural) has its own host of health problems attached.  I’ve started drinking flavored seltzer with dinner and adding squeezes of citrus or crushed mint leaves to my water.  I get bored with plain water all the time and I figured a few bubbles may ease my soda cravings – I’ve been drinking it all my life so I have no illusions that quitting cold turkey is going to be easy.

I’ll check back in a month and see what, if any, effects this has had on my hunger impulses.  Assuming I haven’t been committed or arrested by then.

P.S. I already miss gum.


  1. I'll spare you the rant abou how Aspartame isn't nearly as safe as the industry would have you believe, and just say, although it will take some getting used to, drinking water is the safer bet. And by the way, try Soda and Lime, I had it when I was in Scotland (it was suggested to me because I shouldn't drink) It's surprisingly good.

    1. I truly believe that in the next few years the truth about this stuff is going to come out and more people will begin to realize how dangerous it is.

      I've just been buying the lime flavored seltzer water which is good (pomegranate is my favorite though). At work I squeeze lime into my water too, I love lime!

  2. YIKES!! I know fundamentally that diet soda is basically glorified battery acid for your intestines... but it's so delicious! :) These are good ideas for water! I would never have thought of mint leaves. I should look into limiting fake sweeteners in other stuff - I love gum. And I put it in my coffee. I am a terrible human being if I have not had any caffeine so that habit's not going anywhere, but maybe I could wean myself off the splenda...

    1. I know M, I've been addicted to it for so long this is pretty hard! I didn't even wean, I just went BAM - cold turkey. I'm okay... but the headache is still there for the moment. Owie.

  3. I have a sensitivity to artificial sweeteners; aspartame gives me migraines and sucralose tears up my stomach. Ugh.

    I drink a lot of seltzer. I have limes in the fridge, I also muddle mint, or sometimes if I want something 'sweet' I'll add a splash of vanilla extract. Wegmans carries a brand of seltzer (Polar I think) that comes in a vanilla flavor. It's my favorite thing in the world, but I don't get to Wegmans often.

    1. Right now my head is pounding either from chemical withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal, or just PMS - I can't tell which it is but either way it should clear up in a few more days. I hope!

      I don't have a local Wegmans either, yet - but one is being opened near me in the next year or so. I can't wait! For now, I'll try to find the vanilla seltzer elsewhere, it sounds good. I adore cream soda and I'm hoping it's similar. Yum.

    2. If you find a vanilla seltzer (that's not at Wegmans) please let me know. I look in nearly every grocery store I step in. That's why I just buy plain and add a splash of vanilla extract to my glass. LOL