Thursday, July 12, 2012
I've read several reports recently that said diet soda can still make people fat. The sweet taste drives a hunger response even though there are no calories. The ensuing hunger may cause them to overeat.
I didn't pay much attention. Diet sodas are safe for diabetic because they don't cause a blood glucose rise. If they don't cause blood glucose to rise, then they should be safe for me, too, because I'm not diabetic. Or so I thought.
However, over the past July 4th weekend, I may have changed my mind.
We stayed near Miami for the weekend. My husband and I took a day trip down to the Florida Keys on one of the days. We relaxed in the oh-so-blue-and-clear water, wandered around Key West, then headed back towards Miami. We stopped a seafood restaurant on the waterfront for dinner around sunset.
I ordered peel and eat shrimp, bowl of conch chowder, and a side salad. I avoided an alcoholic beverage (though I wanted one) because it was very hot and I was a touch dehydrated. I ordered a diet Coke, which they gave me in a large 16oz glass. I don't drink much diet soda these days, but we were on 'vacation'. The 'sweet' and saltiness of the diet Coke was very satisfying. I slurped down two of them.
The next morning, I woke up with insatiable hunger. The type where I would eat anything if I could get my hands on it. The uncontrollable type where I couldn't stop myself if wanted to. I never get hungry like that anymore. I only get like that if I eat a monster dessert or a big plate of pasta. I had neither the day before. What the heck?
I woke the DH and said I was hungry. He grumbled like a sleepy bear, and put the pillow over his head. Ok, breakfast was on my own. I made my way to a Whole Foods. The breakfast counter wasn't quite ready, and I was nearly out of my mind. I paced the store like a tiger waiting for feeding time at the zoo.
Snarl. Whine. Grrrrr.
Finally, the buffet was filled. I grabbed two hard boiled eggs, a fairly normal breakfast for me. They didn't have any bacon or fruit, so I just made off with the eggs. Two eggs are normally plenty to leave me feeling full at breakfast. When I get hunger cravings at home, eating a homemade pickled egg usually does the trick.
Except two eggs did absolutely nothing to lower my hunger levels this time. I still felt like I hadn't eaten at all.
Desperation. What do I do? Get more eggs, which were the only protein choice on the breakfast buffet that morning?
I decided to buy a package of buffalo jerky. I ate a plains Indian breakfast that morning - eggs and buffalo jerky. The Apache probably had a water skin instead of my Americano, though.
It was an 8oz package of buffalo jerky. I devoured about half of it.
And...it worked. My hunger was finally under control. I regained lucid thoughts that didn't involve food. 2 eggs and an extra full serving size of 4oz protein was way more than my usual breakfast.
Today, I had one over easy egg and a 2oz piece of leftover pork from last night. I feel satisfied - it's enough. I effectively ate double that after my mysterious hunger surge last weekend.
Now I tried to think, what the heck happened? What set that off?
My meals the day before:
Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1oz strip of ham, handful of berries.
Lunch: Salad greens with strawberries, salami and cheese antipasti (4oz), handful of cherries.
Dinner: Peel and eat shrimp (8oz), conch chowder and side salad.
I didn't feel hungry at all during the day. It was pretty normal. No carby, sugary trigger foods...
The diet Coke?
I must have drank 32 oz of it with dinner. I rarely ever drink that much. I drink it on occasion, but I don't like massive quantities of artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. But I was hot, and I remembered the sweet/saltiness being very refreshing...
I believe that tripped an insulin surge, even though I didn't have anything carby/sugary. If I drank a small glass, maybe I would have had a little extra hungriness that would never register on my radar as being unusual. The quantity I drank was unusual, and may have caused a very noticeable response.
Going back to my recent blog themes about taking notes and learning what your body is communicating, this one is definitely going down in my register. I do not like that out of control hunger. It is why I've stuck with and enjoyed eating low-carb. I don't get that way anymore. I don't like being unable to focus on anything else but eating.
I was weening myself off diet sodas before, but now I am more wary of them. I won't be so quick to dismiss the studies about them driving hunger, even in the absence of calories anymore.