Diabetes, my name is Soda.
The second day I was in the hospital a registered dietitian came around and gave me a few ‘rules of thumb’ for eating. I’d just been diagnosed as diabetic that morning. The hospital staff thought I might need to know how to eat. The first thing the dietitian told me was a shocker:
“You can no longer drink diet drinks. You must drink full flavor, full sugar sodas from now on.”
What? I’d been drinking diet sodas for the last ten years. What on earth made her think I’d drink anything but? Everything else out of her mouth sounded sane, just not this bit. I wish… I wish I had asked her why.
In the weeks that followed I began searching the ‘net for information to back up her statement. It seems Diabetics really should keep a soda with them, a full sugar soda, to counteract super lows caused by too much insulin. (Recent articles indicate fruit juice may be better for you and work faster than soda.) But other than that there is little to support the dietitian’s statement.
Both soda and diet soda make free use of MSG. MSG is considered a ‘natural flavoring’ as it magnifies the flavor of foods it is paired with. Makes the spices more intense and sugars taste sweeter. It’s also highly addictive and can cause major headaches and flu like symptoms. And both are chock full of citric acid, another flavorant and preservative. Citric acid is just that: an acid. Dental studies have shown that citric acid eats away the enamel of your teeth and, further down, the lining of your stomach.
Perhaps the main reason diabetes – heck anyone! – shouldn’t drink diet soda was posed as a theory from a health conscious friend: People tend to drink more diet soda than regular soda, possibly because their bodies are expecting the calories, maybe even depending on the calories to be there.
I did try, for a while, to switch away from diet sodas. I had plenty of people swear up and down that I’d loose weight, that regular soda tastes better, that the heartburn I was experiencing would go away. I gained fifteen pounds in two weeks, the heartburn got worse, and the flavor? Just too sweet.