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Diet Drinks: Yes or No?

Here at Hilton Head Health, we love to educate our Guests on the best options for their dietary needs to help them navigate their own weight loss paths and wellness journeys and form a healthy diet plan.

This video may be a little on the crazy/goofy side. That is just my personality coming through.  On a different note, I would like to share some information in regards to diet drinks including diet sodas, non-caloric sweetened beverages and those carbonated drinks that always sound “oh-so refreshing.” Are diet drinks and diet soda healthy?  I think most people have a few concerns or questions regarding diet drinks and if they are indeed a healthy choice or not:

  1.  Will diet drinks cause me to gain weight?
  2.  Will diet drinks assist me in my weight loss journey?
  3.  If I drink non-caloric sweetened beverages, will I start to crave certain foods?
  4.  How much is too much?

Various studies have researched the influence diet sodas have among those who regularly consume them.  Instead of giving you lengthy descriptions of these particular studies, I will do my best to sum things up:

  • Those that regularly consume sugar sweetened soda and/or diet sodas on a regular basis are at greater risk for weight gain.  There is not a direct cause and effect.
  • Diet drinks typically provide 10 calories or less per serving.  If you consume 2-3 regular sodas per day then it may be beneficial to switch to diet if you know it could help you shed a few pounds.  However, the long term effects on food choices is something to consider—are diet sodas the best option?  Not for some.
  • Look at the big picture.  If you rarely consume regular or diet sodas/beverages then maybe there are other things in your diet that could use some tweaking.
  • Treat diet sodas like a nicotine patch (especially if you are used to regular sodas or sugar-rich foods). Non-caloric sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. Your taste buds love this. Based on professional experience, those that limit and/or eliminate artificial sweeteners or diet beverages don’t regret the commitment.  In fact, most say they feel cravings for sweets have decreased and they are making better food decisions throughout the day.

At the end of the day, avoid being the food police.  It can be very easy to view certain foods or items as “good” or “bad”—if we continue to have this mentality then what happens when we choose something “bad”?  Have you blown the rest of the day?  NO! Are diet drinks the best, healthy choice?  Probably not and for multiple reasons.  However, evaluate your meal plan as a whole and decide where you can make the most realistic and sustainable modifications.

What do you like to drink instead of diet soda? Water? Tea?

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