The Hidden Risks of Sodas and Sweeteners

The Hidden Risks of Sodas and Sweeteners

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As we continue to make progress on our individual weight loss journeys, we get more invested in it. As a result, we start to look for more information to keep our momentum going as well as new ways to improve our overall health. One of the most common changes people make is to cut out their consumption of soda and sugary drinks. However, many people decide to switch their original drink of choice for the “diet” or “light” version, no doubt attracted to the lower calorie count. While a lower calorie count can’t be totally discounted, these beverages pose risks of their own, and lull us into a false sense of security surrounding them, when really, it would be better to cut them out altogether and find a healthier alternative. Keeping that in mind, we’re going to highlight some of the reasons that diet drinks are not only not as healthy as people think, but how they can derail a weight loss plan, and what actions we can take (and substitutes to find) to prevent this and keep the dream of a healthier lifestyle alive!

It Leads to Weight Gain

Let’s just go ahead and rip off the band-aid. Surprising as it may be to learn, diet sodas not only don’t condone healthy or safe weight loss, but they actually can lead to weight gain. Even though most if not all diet sodas have no sugar in them, they are usually packed with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These can have the unintended effect of making our bodies lose track of how many calories we are consume ng and slow down our metabolism. These substances also cause us to crave more sugar-packed or calorie dense foods, which is exactly what we should be moderating or avoiding in the first place. Perhaps the biggest risk diet sodas pose is that due to the low-calorie count, we drink more of them, which in turn leads to us drinking less water. Being well hydrated is not only an important part of healthy weight loss, but it is crucial to maintaining our body. So next time the craving for soda comes in, try drinking a glass or two of water first, and give it a few minutes so that the craving can pass.

Potential Heart Complications and Diabetes

Like we stated earlier, diet sodas can make us crave more sugar-rich foods, which bring with them a laundry list of problems. But this, coupled with some of the sweeteners used in diet sodas, such as aspartame, have been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and congestive heart failure. And because of the potential increase in sugar from other sources, coupled with the slower metabolism we mentioned earlier, it can lead to type 2 Diabetes, which is never a good thing.

Increased Chance of Stroke

According to a study by the American Heart Association, drinking soda (even diet soda) regularly can increase the odds of a stroke by almost 50%. This is due to the sodium content in sodas, which increases our heart rate and blood pressure, which if left untreated (or unnoticed) can lead to blood clots in our brain.

Find Alternative Sweeteners

Just because diet sodas use artificial sweeteners does not mean that there are no healthy alternatives. After all, all sweeteners are not created equal. Some even have great health benefits. One of the most commonly used (and safe) sweeteners used nowadays is stevia. Aside from giving us that sweet flavor we crave, it boasts surprising health benefits, such as increased weight loss, better oral health, improved blood pressure, and even improved bone health! Others among us favor a small amount of honey. While it is a natural sugar so should be consumed sparingly, it has a few uses beyond flavor. For example, honey is known to be an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory and even has antibacterial properties! And as a bonus, as long as it hasn’t been contaminated or improperly stored, it won’t expire! In time it may become cloudy, or eve crystalize, but it is still perfectly safe to consume.

Explore with New Drinks!

Just because soda might be cut out of our diets, or consumed very sparingly, doesn’t mean we still can’t find something delicious and refreshing. As always, we have to advocate for water, but there is nothing wrong with adding a bit of flavor or sweetness to it! For example, slicing up oranges and putting them in a pitcher of water can infuse a sweet citrusy flavor! Other water-based drinks, such as tea, can also come with the added bonus of several health benefits. For example, green tea can help us lose weight and prevent other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer! Chamomile on the other hand is good for soothing cold symptoms or even anxiety. And others such as Valerian Root (which can be purchased as tea at most grocery stores) is proven to be a very effective sleep aid! Consider, most teas have caffeine, so are good for helping us wake up in the morning or have energy throughout the day, and valerian can help us get a full night’s sleep! Beats having jitters from soda all day, doesn’t it?

Medical Professionals Can Set You Down the Path to Success

When it’s all said and done, weight loss, nutrition, wellness, meal planning, and even learning new ways to replace old habits, all fall under the category of medical science. By seeking the help of trained professionals, you not only have better resources to succeed, but the support structure you need to build better habits. The professionals at Olivera Weight Loss have over 40 years of experience in helping people reduce their weight to a healthy BMI, in a clinically proven and medically safe way, and with the means to help their patients keep it off. Patients who qualify for medical weight loss treatment with Olivera receive Phentermine, an FDA approved, clinically proven appetite suppressant, which is an excellent way to jumpstart better habits with proper portions. This is also helpful in tracking because it will help put your food intake into perspective. In addition, patients have access to our Meal Plans to help keep a balanced and nutritious, and delicious diet, in a sustainable way. With our established patients having the option to continue their care with our Telehealth service, receiving the support, encouragement, and continuing education they need, we make it easier than ever to follow your plan!

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