The Coca Cola company is releasing a new series of ads today that will promote the use of their aspartame-sweetened drinks, including Diet Coke. According to an ABC News report, the print ads will say that "diet drinks can help people manage their weight and stresses the scientific evidence showing the safety of aspartame, which is more commonly known under the NutraSweet brand name." But is diet soda really good for weight loss?
Should You Consume Aspartame to Lose Weight?
There are strong arguments on either side of the aspartame safety argument. If you want an unbiased opinion about the sweetener, my suggestion is that you go to a source that is not trying to sell you a product. The Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program, for example, provides a nice question and answer page for interested consumers. In a nutshell, the agency says that even though they get complaints about aspartame-related symptoms, studies have not been able to attribute the symptoms to the sweetener except in some very rare situations.
But does that mean that aspartame-sweetened drinks are good for you? If you're trying to lose weight, there are a few different angles to consider. First, there is the fact that sodas with artificial sweeteners contain fewer calories. In many cases, they contain no calories at all. If you are a regular Coke drinker, for example, swtiching to Diet Coke could eliminate hundreds of calories from your diet everyday. That's a good thing!
The downside, however, is that some experts believe that artificially sweetened drinks (and foods) mess with your sense of taste and actually increase your cravings for sugary foods. If you're trying to lose weight, that's a bad thing. Dieters already have an uphill battle trying to manage cravings, why tip the scales any further?
What to Drink if You Want to Lose Weight
It's boring, but the best thing to drink if you want to lose weight is water. I know you're rolling your eyes, but water is really good for you. It is calorie-free, it hydrates your body effectively and that helps to keep your energy level up and your junk food cravings at bay. If you hate water, make your own flavored water at home. My favorite? Basil orange water. It's what I drink when I'm craving salty snacks. The savory taste kills those cravings and the drink looks beautiful in a glass so I feel like I'm getting a treat.
In addition to saving your waistline, drinking water will also protect your pocketbook. Have you ever wondered how much money you spend on sodas per year? I did the math and figured out how much money you could save and how much weight you could lose if you quit the soda habit. Check out the article to get the details.
(photo source: Arker/Morguefile)