Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Great Diet Coke Debate

Years ago I was a Diet Coke addict. And I mean addict - I used to drink a zillion (meaning at least 6-8) cans or bottles a day. This was sometimes very useful in grad school, until it led me to have panic attacks and a racing heart. I decided maybe I ought not to do caffeine. So I gave up Diet Coke... in favor of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. Ah, the magical elixir - no calories, no caffeine, no nothing, and still oddly satisfying. And addictive.

In recent years I have given up my soda habit. I decided I really didn't want to be drinking so much aspartame. I do think it gives me headaches. I didn't want to be spending money on it all the time. But I also was trying to be an example for my kids - we don't particularly want them hooked on any kind of soda, but how realistic is that if we're drinking it all the time? And once we launched our offensive on chemicals in our food, I really didn't want to drink it - how can I encourage Jeff to stay away from artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners when I'm eating or drinking them myself? Sure, we're not perfect. As I said, sometimes we still hit the drive-thru. Occasionally McDonald's still lobs a land mine our way in the form of  the coveted Happy Meal. A Blizzard can often overcome even my strongest feelings about chemical-laden food. But by and large, I avoid soda.

So what's the debate? Well, I'm trying to lose weight again the good old-fashioned way, by eating less and moving more. I'm monitoring my calories, and frankly it just doesn't feel like there are enough in the day (and I'm not eating a level most people would consider to be a restrictive level, believe me). So I have started to crave Diet Coke again - just that extra something, just a little treat for staying on track in all other ways. I haven't bought one yet, but I'm waffling. Should I? Is it O.K. to pick a no-calorie item like that and consume it for the emotional benefits? I mean, c'mon, I'd only be drinking the caffeine-free stuff!

Ironically, in my time since I've been "off" soda, I've read a lot more about artificial sweeteners and how they actually fool your body - it doesn't register the "sweet" factor properly. And in fact since the taste of sweetness triggers the desire for sweets, it can lead you to binge. All big reasons NOT to start up again.

Decisions, decisions... What do you think?


  1. Hold strong, dear friend! You can do it! (or resist it, as the case may be!) Call me when you get a craving and I will talk you down! :-)

  2. OK...so it is me, Jeanine, not my mother (Margie), I am just on her computer! LOL