Why diet drinks suck and could be making you fat (and unwell).

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You’re eating your vegetables and lean protein, you keep things low carb…but you’re still drinking diet coke and/or using splenda to sweeten your coffee. First of all, well done on the GOOD things you are doing, HOWWWWEVER…put DOWN the diet drink and your artificial sweeteners immediately, because those could very well be making your belly big..as well as ruining your health.

I know some of you are cussing me right now. Stop that shit right now, I am overly psychic and I can hear you 😅

“But it’s got 0.5 calories in it, Nour! Far less than any vegetable I have put in my mouth! Also, at least I’m not having real sugar, because it’s real sugar and white carbs which spike my blood sugar, and that’s what causes fat gain, not the aspartame or splenda….right??”

Wrong. One of the MANY problem with sweetening agents like aspartame (found in your diet fizzy drinks and Candarel), sorbitol (found in ‘sugar-free’ snacks and drinks) and sucralose (found in Splenda), is that they STILL raise your blood sugar indirectly, which may cause an insulin spike. As I mentioned here, if you’re trying to lose belly fat in particular, you do NOT WANT insulin spikes, as this is when the body signals for energy storage.

Another way these agents could be contributing to fat gain, as well as metabolic imbalances such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, is by negatively affecting your gut bacteria population. They kill the good ones, which actually HELP you metabolise your sugar intake and help protect your immune system, and encourage the growth of the bad species, which encourage fat gain, poor energy, poo problems, bloating, burping, poor overall health bla bla bla (you can read more about this here).

And just so you know, having a chronic infestation of bad bacteria CAN lead to serious health disorders not just directly in the gut, but also in the brain. Think alzheimer’s (nicknamed type 3 diabetes), dementia, fatty liver disease, kidney disease and more.

Not only are we potentially looking at metabolic diseases and fat gain here, we’re also looking at pretty grim neurological damage. Think headaches, migraines, neuron (brain cell) damage, insomnia, depression, poor cognition and so forth. This is because agents like aspartame dissolve the protective fatty layers (myelin sheath) surrounding nervous system and brain cells, exposing the cell to all sorts of damage.

Think of an average electric cable in your home. Now, imagine that plastic layer surrounding the wire comes off, and the wire becomes exposed. That’s how these damaged cells look. That means these damaged cells aren’t going to be communicating signals with one another as they should.

So what the fuck do we do?

1. Use STEVIA.
Stevia in moderate amounts does not affect blood glucose levels. It is a natural sweetener which comes from South America, and is inherently extremely sweet, so you only need a tiny amount to get the same effect you get from sweetening with sugar. If you are familiar with Candarel and Splenda, you’ll use Stevia in the same serving amount. Except it tastes a bit better too.

You can cook with Stevia, put it in your foods and drinks of all temperatures, and if you’re like me and are a chronic IBS person, moderate amounts of this won’t be a problem for your digestion.

Xylitol is slightly cheaper than Stevia, and is an alcohol sugar which comes from birch trees. It looks and tastes pretty much like sugar, with only 40% of the calories. You would use it in exactly the same way as sugar, 1 tsp of xylitol tastes and acts like 1 tsp of sugar in your foods and drinks.

It doesn’t raise blood glucose or insulin, and even has teeth protective properties. This makes it an excellent choice for those who have type 2 diabetes, or simply for those who want to watch their weight. Xylitol isn’t processed in the body the same way sugar either, as their molecules are too large to be digested, which is one of the main reasons why it is safe for consumption by diabetics. Your just poop/pee out the molecules pretty much as they are.

One of the side effects to be aware of is, because these molecules are big and can draw in quite a bit of water, you could experience bloating and diarrhoea if you are prone to IBS type symptoms. So if that’s you, definitely stick with Stevia. Also, please don’t give your doggies any xylitol containing products, it is HIGHLY toxic for them.

3. Drink NATURALLY carbonated water drinks.
That means the water was actually carbonated NATURALLY at source. Yes. There are springs which create naturally fizzy water, because of the mineral content it has been contained in. If your sparkling water contains carbon dioxide…well fuck that shit.

4. Make your own sparkling drinks!
Ok so now you know that naturally sparkling water is absolutely fine (and in fact can help digestion), you could mix it up with some fruit, a little stevia, lime, fresh herbs like mint, basil etc and make your own healthy sparkling drink! They make great mixers for your alcoholic drinks too 😇

Rule of thumb, anything which says it is sugar free or low fat, is probably going to be bad for you and contribute to fat gain from a different pathway. So you still get to the same place you’ve been ultimately trying to avoid. Wah wah waaaah. But now you know!

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