The last couple days I've been on a kick researching all about things we drink. From water to the worst energy drinks on the market. Ready to read all about it?
In my senior year of high school I had a diet coke with lime every *morning* ... liiiiike whaaa and WHY!? I was fully addicted to them. Also... what happened to those? and Surge!?
Sugar and artificial sweeteners trigger the reward center in our brain sending hits of dopamine and cortisol which then tells us to eat more. There is evidence in the literature showing substantial parallels and overlap between drug abuse and sugar, this includes how our brain responds as well as our behavior (link to article). Soooo sugar is literally a drug and we can actually be addicted to it just like any other drug of choice. I'm sure most of you recognize this as anytime you try to cut it out you end up with some withdrawal effects & how hard it is to kick!
Now that you know what sugar and artificial sweeteners do in our body I want to talk about those artificial sweeteners specifically. If you are a client of mine you probably know I'm not the biggest fan of "fake" sugar. These sugars are made of compounds that are very difficult for our bodies to metabolize which then lands in our liver, creating congestion, and sooo much goes wrong when that happens.
Diet and "Sugar-free" Drinks
So lets talk Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi, sugar free Crystal Light... whatever your favorite diet or "sugar-free" drink of choice is...
They have zero nutritional value
A consensus has not been made by scientists if it is safe to ingest but the FDA has still approved it for us to have
There are significant concerns over the toxicity levels from the non-metabolized compounds of the sugars
There are concerns if it can be carcinogenic
They increase the risk of bladder & heart disease
Studies have shown that sugars like aspartame induce a rise in glucose & insulin levels, which still makes them bad for those with diabetes
They are a big contributor to metabolic syndrome
Studies have shown that they can contribute to weight gain and weight loss
It increases your waist circumference
Could alter your gut microbiome
You may cringe to keep reading and even tempted to skip this one. I urge you to educate yourself on them at least, even if that means you don't give them up, at least you have all the facts.
Consumption has been shown to be positively associated with high risk behavior.
Large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart and blood vessel problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine also may harm children’s still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Caffeine use may also be associated with anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and dehydration.
Excessive energy drink consumption may disrupt teens’ sleep patterns and may be associated with increased risk-taking behavior.
A single 16-oz. container of an energy drink may contain 54 to 62 grams of added sugar; this exceeds the maximum amount of added sugars recommended for an entire day.
People who combine caffeinated drinks with alcohol may not be able to tell how intoxicated they are; they may feel less intoxicated than they would if they had not consumed caffeine, but their motor coordination and reaction time may be just as impaired.
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults.
Some energy drinks are marketed as beverages and others as dietary supplements. There’s no requirement to declare the amount of caffeine on the label of either type of product.
Just incase you still aren't shook.... Norway, Denmark, and France have banned the sale of Red Bull, partly in response to a study on rats that were fed taurine and exhibited bizarre behavior, including anxiety and self-mutilation. (proof)
Here's the bottom line
These drinks are not healthy, can create some wild issues, and are not benefiting your body. When companies won't disclose ingredients or amounts of things in their products its best to just steer clear... maybe leave those Coke Zero's and Red bulls on the shelf.
Choose alternatives like:
Fruit infused water
Black Tea or Matcha Tea