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When our clients first begin their medical weight loss plans, we talk about cutting out excess calories from things like sugary snacks and drinks. That’s because in addition to adding too many calories to your daily eating plan, sugary snacks and drinks tend to be devoid of any nutritional value. If you’re like a lot of people, quitting soda might be the first item on your to-do list. But unfortunately, simply switching to diet soda might not be the best idea.
Why? After all, diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners and zero calories, right? Yes, that’s true, and technically a diet soda won’t contain any calories. But continuing to drink sweet beverages keeps your taste buds and appetite dependent upon sugar, and will cause you to continue to crave other sweet treats. Some evidence also suggests that artificial sweeteners can alter the metabolic processes that cause us to store energy as fat, so they could actually make it more difficult for you to lose weight.
It’s also possible that artificial sweeteners can contribute to other negative health effects over the long term. For example, studies have linked the ingredients to an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks, and early death in post-menopausal women. Other studies link artificial sweeteners to high blood pressure and diabetes.
On the other hand, some studies show no correlation between artificial sweetners and negative outcomes. But since we don’t know for sure, it’s best not to rely on these ingredients too much. If you need to wean yourself off of soda, that’s one thing, but continue to work toward the goal of drinking more water. Don’t get stuck trading one bad habit for another that might also cause problems.
If you need more tips on switching from sweetened beverages to plain water or other healthy options, call us to schedule an appointment. We always want to support your medical weight loss plan any way that we can, so that you can find long term success and health.