NUTRITION: Ditch the diet soda

Friday January 22 2016

Clinical nutritionist Sona tells you why you

Clinical nutritionist Sona tells you why you should let go the caffeine fix. PHOTO | FILE 

Diet soda is not loaded with sugar like it’s full-fat counterpart, so why ditch it? Because it does make you fat. Really. According to a University of Texas Health Science Centre study, drinking two or more cans a day expanded waistlines by 500 per cent – a phenomenon backed up by patients trying to lose weight at the clinic.

And then you have the other reasons, from tooth decay and thinning bones to poor kidney function.

So what’s a girl to do? Turns out, if you’re serious about kicking the habit, you need to understand your motivation for drinking it. These are the four most commonly reported reasons at the clinic:

1. Low energy. If your can of cola is designed to be a pick-me-up, it could be the caffeine that you’re after. Rather than switching to other caffeinated drinks like tea or coffee, how about getting more sleep? Just an extra 30 minutes a day will not only boost your energy but, as I’ve seen time and again, may help you lose those stubborn pounds too.

2. Low blood sugar. If you find yourself tired, irritable or shaky when you reach for your diet drink, it could be your adrenal glands that need a helping hand. These are the little organs that sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for providing sugar in

times of stress. However, when you use them all the time, they tend to get worn out and your blood sugar ends up crashing. The first step is to avoid blood sugar dips by not skipping meals (three meals and two snacks please), spreading protein throughout the

day (add grilled chicken or chickpeas to that brown rice salad) and keeping a supply of nourishing snacks (nuts with your fruit).

3. Candida. There’s no sexy way of saying this, but if you have chronic nasal congestion and/or irritable bowel syndrome, it could be a yeast overgrowth causing your cravings. Aside from seeing a clinical nutritionist to sort out your woes, I’d suggest finding a

diet soda alternative that doesn’t leave you miserable: lemon-flavored sparkling water is surprisingly popular.

It could take up to 10 days to stop craving diet soda, but it will all depend on how well you’re addressing the root cause. While the occasional indulgence isn’t the end of the world, remember that old habits are very easy to pick up again after the initial hard

work of kicking them (think of all the people you know who’ve quit smoking several times).



Is there a supplement I can take to help?

Yes, chromium. Chromium is found in unrefined foods and a really good, ‘wholefood’ diet might give you 50mcg a day. Supplement 200mcg to 600mcg a day.