Thursday, November 06, 2008

Diet Foods and Drinks Can Make You Fat and Rot Your Teeth

If you're trying to slim down, think you should switch out your favorite sweetened foods from those made with traditional sugar to the “light” or “diet” varieties made with an artificial sweetener? Turns out, maybe not. According to some recent studies, consuming the fake stuff may lead to overeating.

Research on this topic is relatively new - and so far most of the testing has been done with animals. One study tested the weights of lab animals that were fed “light” yogurt containing saccharin versus the traditional sugar-sweetened variety. The animals who consumed yogurt sweetened with saccharin consumed more calories and packed on more pounds than the animals who were give the yogurt with sugar added. Why is this? Researchers believe that like humans, animal’s brains are conditioned to expect sweet-tasting foods to be high in calories. When that no-calorie substitute is consumed instead, it seems to put the brain and the body in conflict. The brain thinks, “Mmmm, satisfyingly sweet.” And the body insists, “Wait. This isn’t working. I need more.” There are already human studies that link diet soft drinks to excess weight.

If you value your pearly whites, here’s another reason to avoid sodas – diet or regular. Most carbonated soft drinks wear and tear on your tooth enamel like you wouldn’t believe. Whether they’re full of sugar or not, bubbly drinks have some impact on tooth enamel. Citrus-flavored sodas do the most damage, followed by colas. The only exception seems to be root beer, which only causes a slight impact on tooth enamel.

It’s not just the sugars in sodas that are bad for your teeth, it’s the acids too. The total acid content of the soda including types like citric, phosphoric, malic, and tartaric acids affect how much damage your choppers take. They say rinsing your mouth after consuming a soda can reduce the damage, but who does that?

The good news is that you can satisfy your sweet tooth and be mindful of your calorie intake at the same time. Try piling on the berries – they’re a yummy addition to cereal, yogurt or just by themselves. Berries of all kinds are great for you a full of fiber – which helps you feel full. And when you’ve just gotta have chocolate – think quality, not quantity. A little piece of dark chocolate can be more satisfying than a pound of the milk chocolate variety. And eaten in small quantities, dark chocolate is actually good for you.


Anonymous said...

When in doubt: go for the natural stuff.

Fruits will make your body much more of a happer camper then candy will.

A glass of tea that is lightly sweetened with nectar or regular sugar will probably make your body a happy camper then soda.

In the end, it's your body that comes first. If it's not satisfied, it'll affect you mentally, and then no one is a happy camper!

'Tis a good reminder that should be shared, I think. :) Excellento post.

nick from NY said...

Hey Tony,

By the water cooler in the office I'm working in now, there's a four-foot stack of a variety of sodas to choose from. Now, which do you think people tend to select? Soda or water? Bet you said soda! And you're right on, brutha! Man, that stack usually lasts only a couple of weeks, whereas the water is basically used only to fill up the coffee machine-;) I think we've all been conditioned through years of advertising, which insists that we drink only "what's fun, tastes and feels good."

Personally, I've taken it upon myself to become the anti-soda and sweets advocate in the office. I have a drawer full of a great selection of teas, nuts, raw veggies and 12-grain crackers. People around me are starting to catch on, occasionally asking me if they can try a tea or cracker snack. And I can only say that their reactions, for the most part, are very positive, as if a light bulb went on in their heads telling them it's ok to let go of all that deadly stuff. Heck, they may even be more "productive"!

Reality, it's a beautiful thing!


Anonymous said...

Ya - workplaces can be the worst. My teachers' room is constantly loaded with government surplus food that they say is healthy, but its loaded with fats, sugars and calories. This is the same crap that we are force feeding our kids at school. For example, at ten in the morning, all the kids at my school get a 500 calorie super-donut for FREE.


Brit boy Mike said...

"...For example, at ten in the morning, all the kids at my school get a 500 calorie super-donut for FREE"

That last comment is really scary. That's pretty much 1/4 or 1/5 of an adults daily calorie intake all rolled into one giant piece of crapola! The kids don't stand a chance.

Glynis said...

Also, a common preservatives in soft drinks can damage your cell's mitochondria. Here's one of many articles on the dangers of sodium benzoate:

LisaErin82 said...

They say that the fake sugar doesn't trick your body--it makes it want real sugar even worse. Don't know if it's true, but before I started the TONY HORTON EATING PLAN, I'd drink endless amounts of coffee (with equal, not sugar) and diet pepsi (along with my buckets and buckets of water, too) and my sweet tooth was horrible. After I started the plan, I crave much less sugar--I'm drinking much less coffee (still with some, not nearly as much equal) and no diet pepsi.
Don't try to trick your budy with some may not be as gullible as you think :P

Jude said...

Since starting P90X I've tried to stay away from diet soda altogether. For the most part I've been successful and feel much better for it. Water is the way to go!

ruth said...

I couldn't agree with all of you more. I just started P90X (this morning, actually!). But I already have known for quite some time (and proven it) that you feel much better if you eat "real" food, try to avoid chemicals (not so easy) and stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. That last one is tricky. We are conditioned very early to clean that plate! And we've lost our perspective completely on portion sizes. A portion size? Usually the size of your fist. Yep! That's right. Trust me. It's true. The key: eat slowly. Value conversation first when you're with your friends. I welcome any emails about the exercise program or nutrition.

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Peggy Devries said...

I wonder why there are some beverages and foods labeled with the word "diet" if they are containing sugar. I've read blogs about soft drinks or sodas. Well, there's nothing wrong drinking it as long as you know your limitation in drinking those. Sugar is one of the the good sources of energy. So if you have a lot of activities, sodas are useful. As I was saying, sodas are rich in sugar. If you take too much sugar, it may cause tooth decay or even gaining weight. If you don't use sugar and calories, it will only store in your body. That's why outdoor activities are good if you want to lose weight.

Last October, I went to Bay Area. Body wrap treatment is helpful in losing weight according to Liza. Through wrapping, it can reduce unwanted fats to your tummy for example. Maybe I'll go back to Bay Area. Body wraps can be effective to me, so I'll try it.

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