Diet Coke

- POSTED ON: Sep 10, 2012

I often read articles involving diverse perspectives on Obesity and Dieting. I consider the evidence and put it into my mental file on the issue. Sometimes I even change my mind. But, truthfully, I most enjoy the articles that agree with my own beliefs.

I’m well aware of the existence of a great deal of dietary research involving “bad” science.   Some of these are studies based on inaccurate, self-reported, dietary recall which don’t even attempt to account for the actual quality of the participant’s diets, but then make conclusions about different food and health issues, including the impact of artificial sweeteners on one’s health.

I think that an Ideal end goal would be to drink the smallest amount of “sweet” beverages regardless of how the beverages got their “sweet” in the first place. In an Ideal World, I’d replace all of my artificially flavored and artificially sweetened beverages, including tea and diet cokes, with clear and undiluted water.

However, it’s NOT an Ideal World.

 As my current choice is to frequently use Splenda, and to drink Diet Cokes or Coke Zero, I enjoyed the following article.

             Artificial sweeteners help keep it off.

Not exactly a surprising result, but likely one that will be poo-poo'd by all those who love to vilify artificial sweeteners.

Researchers in New Zealand studied folks who had successfully lost weight and their dietary consumption patterns. More specifically they looked at folks who had maintained a weight loss of greater than 10% of their weight for 11.5 years and they compared these folks' dietary strategies to folks of similar weights who had never been overweight.

What unshocking yet valuable results did they find?

They found that folks who lost the weight had to work harder at their dietary strategies to help keep that weight off than folks who never had weight to lose. Their strategies included consuming fewer calories from fat (though the importance of this one's debatable as the 90s were the low-fat decade and more recent data from the National Weight Control Registry suggest that low-calorie is of course more important than low-fat and can be accomplished many different ways), consuming more of sugar and fat modified foods (reduced fat, reduced sugar), consuming more water, less pop and three times more daily servings of artificially sweetened soft drinks.

Go figure - folks who are predisposed to weight gain can help themselves keep the weight off by employing dietary strategies to help themselves consume fewer calories.

Go ahead, drink your diet Coke.

Phelan, S., Lang, W., Jordan, D., & Wing, R. (2009). Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always-normal weight individuals International Journal of Obesity DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2009.147

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff MD,
Sept 17, 2009

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Existing Comments:

On Sep 10, 2012 Alma wrote:
Ok, I prefer either iced coffee with powdered creamer and Splenda, full bodied, unsweetened ice tea, Diet Coke or lots of frozen ice allowed to melt slowly. You stumped me with the "clear and undiluted water". The only idea that comes to mind is unfiltered water.

On Sep 11, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Alma, Actually, what I was thinking about was just simple, standard, cold water from the tap ... as a reaction to the endless variety of bottled, filtered, flavored waters now available for a price. So many people now seem afraid to use tap water without a filter, but my family has had no ill effects from it. I suspect modern, unfiltered, tap water is still far healthier than the water drawn from wells and rivers in most 3rd world countries. It is amazing how marketing has managed to convince get us all that we need to buy something that is already free to us.

On Sep 12, 2012 Alma wrote:
Unfortunately, I can not live without my Brita filter pitcher. I started with kidney problems in Florida in 1965 and 7 years in Southern California almost did me in. I boiled water for a long time until they came out with the filter pitchers. It keeps me clear of health problems. The water here does not look good when I look through the glass in daylight so definitely will filter to push off problems. I pay $80 to $100 per month and my dad said it water would always be FREE.......LOL.

On Sep 12, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Alma, Sorry to hear that. Bummer for you. I live in Central California and although many of my friends purchase water and water filters, we still use unfiltered water at our house. However, since I don't much care for plain water ... it doesn't taste sweet (.... LOL ...), most of the water I drink is either hot tea or iced tea, and both of those are made with boiling water. When I drink plain water or flavored drinks like Crystal lite, I just use water directly from the tap. My only bill for water is my city general utility bill.

On Sep 12, 2012 rroush wrote:
I LOVE this entry of yours! I also particularly like Dr. Freedhoff's following line: "Go figure - folks who are predisposed to weight gain can help themselves keep the weight off by employing dietary strategies to help themselves consume fewer calories." I go through phases where I try to drink less soda thinking that this will make me drink more water. Recently, I have decided to drink more water regardless of my diet coke intake. The result is that I'm more filled up from the water and still get to enjoy my luxurious diet coke! It feels like a treat and I'm convinced I eat less when I allow myself to drink it.

On Sep 12, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Rebecca, it works for me. =)

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