Will diet soda make me gain weight?
Monday, August 15, 2011
This year, 2011, has been a challenging one for weight loss. I've been reflecting and hoping to find some insight into why. What was I doing before that's changed? What needs to change that hasn't already?
There are two things that I've observed. More observations may arise as I find more insight, but for now, I think these two things are helpful:
The first is that I've cut back on my running. It's summer and I've been bike commuting, which is great. But for some reason, running really kicks the fat off me. I'm still running 1-2x per week, but nothing like the distances and times I was doing before. So, I'm still enjoying my bike commutes and I've only got a couple months left of good biking weather. But, I'm thinking that I'll increase my runs to 3x per week.
The second observation is that I've started drinking diet pop again. I stopped cold turkey in 2007 and didn't touch the stuff again until last winter. It crept in slowly until I was up to one can per day, almost every day.
So, how can a calorie-free drink make me gain? I knew it could but I didn't remember why, until I was watching a Dr. Oz show where they featured diet soda. A woman talked about kicking the diet soda habit and losing 10 pounds in one month. She said that junk food doesn't taste as good with water, and that a lot of foods she craved after drinking diet pop were unhealthy food choices. Hmmm, interesting. So, I did a little research and here's what I found.
In LiveStrong.com, an article stated that "diet soda contains fewer calories than regular soda does. However, drinking diet may also result in weight gain because consuming artificial sweeteners may lead to sugar cravings and further poor dietary choices, according to MayoClinic.com."
I think there's merit in this finding. I don't actually find that my cravings go down, and my biggest problem since drinking diet soda again is that I've increased my consumption of chocolate and chips. Plus, for the first time in 4 years, I've been craving french fries again! With a diet coke please.
I'm on Day 3 of no sodas (diet or otherwise) again and I'm hoping that this tweaking will be the difference I need. Not to say that I couldn't improve other areas, but I'm finding my cravings are already improving. I'm going to observe the results this month and see if I may be onto something.