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March 2, 2011 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Can you get hooked on diet soda? 'Government surveys have found that people who drink diet beverages average more than 26 ounces per day (some drink far more) and that 3% of diet-soda drinkers have at least four daily. Are these diet-soda fiends true addicts? And if so, what are they addicted to? The most obvious answer is caffeine -- but that doesn't explain the many die-hard diet drinkers who prefer caffeine-free varieties.' But at least it's not sweetened soda with all attendant problems, such as high blood pressure, so what about artificial sweeteners?

'Artificial sweeteners may spur drinkers -- or their brains -- to keep chasing a "high" that diet soda keeps forever just out of reach. It's not clear that this teasing effect can lead to dependence, but it's a possibility,' says Martin P. Paulus, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego who conducted brain studies of sugar and artificial sweeteners '"Artificial sweeteners have positive reinforcing effects -- meaning humans will work for it, like for other foods, alcohol, and even drugs of abuse," he says. "Whenever you have that, there is a potential that a subgroup of people ... will have a chance of getting addicted."'Whether you feel dependent or not, drinking too much diet soda might be risky in the long run. In recent years, habitual diet-soda consumption has been linked to an increased risk of low bone mineral density in women, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. What's more, a growing body of research suggests that excessive diet soda intake may actually encourage weight gain.

Researchers are still trying to sort out the counterintuitive link between zero-calorie soda and weight gain. One explanation may be that as your body gets used to experiencing the sweet flavor of diet soda without absorbing any calories, it begins to forget that foods containing real sugar and other carbohydrates do deliver calories.'


'According to the American Psychiatric Association, a key sign of substance dependence is when a person continues to use a substance even when he or she knows it's causing physical or mental health problems.' Many do fit that criterion. Ellen Talles 'She was diagnosed with brittle bones about six years ago, and her internist urged her to quit Diet Coke because the phosphoric acid in soda -- both diet and regular -- leaches calcium from bones, which can make osteoporosis worse.

She's not having it, though. "It's not like I smoke or have any other bad habits," she says. "This is my thing." All the same, Talles acknowledges that drinking so much diet soda is probably not good for her, so in the last couple of months, she's started substituting one of her daily Diet Cokes for a caffeinated Crystal Light.

Another distinguishing feature of substance dependence -- whether it's to caffeine, nicotine, or hard drugs like heroin -- is the painful withdrawal symptoms that occur if a person tries to quit cold turkey. Although it's difficult to pinpoint whether aspartame, caffeine, or some combination of ingredients is responsible, people who cut back on diet soda report symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and irritability -- a feeling that Talles knows well.'

Of course, perhaps you are only drinking the soda to get an uncomfortably full bladder. Because apparently an uncomfortably full bladder leads you to make better decisions about your life. For the really tough big decisions, drink until you can't wait to pee.
posted by VikingSword (180 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
You will pry the Coke Zero from my cold, dead hands. Which will be easy to do because of my cold, dead, brittle bones.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [63 favorites]


64 oz of diet coke every morning. I'm thinking about quitting... again.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I drink a ton of artificial sweetened stuff, why not? The health concerns are bullshit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on March 2, 2011


Take, for example, a man who finds himself searching for a bag of potato chips after looking at sexy photos of women.

something something doing it rong something
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:21 PM on March 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's much better to experience them at the same time instead of waiting till after.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:22 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dam, if you're gonna get addicted, get addicted to something less lame, dammit.
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you google "Rense+aspartame" you'll fiind out everything you really didn't care to know, no have the energy to rebut.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:24 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Question: Can you become hooked on Diet Soda?

Yes. Yes you can.

*looks about for gnomes trying to steel Diet Cherry Coke*
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:25 PM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


You see them, too?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:25 PM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Researchers are still trying to sort out the counterintuitive link between zero-calorie soda and weight gain.

I've thought about this quite a bit. I suspect your body reacts to the sweet taste by releasing small amounts of insulin, causing you to feel hungry.
posted by nzero at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dear Science, don't you have better things to do?
posted by vidur at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Drinking till I have to pee doesn't make me make better decisions, unless that decision is the quickest and most efficient route to the nearest urinal.
posted by blucevalo at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2011


I've always been philosophically opposed to artificial sweeteners: If you want the sugary rush, you should have to deal with the consequences. This kind of "Have your sugar and EAT IT TOO" thing drives me a little gonzo and I think it sends the wrong message.
posted by GilloD at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought the weight gain from drinking diet soda was caused by taste receptors in the gut getting confused and causing insulin to be secreted.
posted by mullingitover at 2:29 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


vidur: "Dear Science, don't you have better things to do?"

Whatever, Sarah Palin.
posted by symbioid at 2:29 PM on March 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


I don't want Science to do Sarah Palin.
posted by vidur at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to drink a fair amount of diet soda, mostly Diet Pepsi. Lately, I've been reading a lot about the health concerns so I stopped. It wasn't a big deal at all. I just started drinking more water and iced tea.

Anecdota is generally meaningless, but I can't believe that my experience is particularly unique. Some people have trouble modifying habits. Others don't. Big news, right?
posted by charmcityblues at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I drank an shit-ton of diet coke growing up, because it's what we had in the fridge. We never had less than a dozen glass bottles or a few 2-litres on hand.

I can still drink it, but I don't crave it.
posted by everichon at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what gives us mental health issues? Worrying that our innocuous little habits and predilections, whatever they might be, will one day wind up on the front page of the newspaper under the headline "FINALLY, WE EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL THE CAUSE OF ALL THE PROBLEMS".

This is fucking bullshit. I am so sick of this shit. There are two groups of people in this world. The first group needs to harden the fuck up. The second group needs to keep their noses out of everybody's shit. I'm gonna go eat some corn.

CORN CHOKES BABIES

Fine, fuck it, soup.

TINNED SOUP BAD FOR PANCREAS

Perhaps I'll call my girlfriend.

NEEDY BOYFRIENDS CAUSE LESBIANISM

Gonna stare at this hedge.

MADMAN HYPNOTIZED BY FOLIAGE
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2011 [149 favorites]


I am absolutely addicted to Diet Coke, but going to quit next week. My husband bought me 12 cases a few weeks ago and they are almost all gone. I typically have one on my drive into work, another before lunch, a third with lunch, a fourth in the afternoon and 1-2 more when I get home. I have a feeling the withdrawals are going to be bad.
posted by elvissa at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't want Science to do Sarah Palin.

Science was just seen running away.
posted by maxwelton at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2011


The caffeine withdrawal was so bad for me last time I tried that I didn't consider aspartame might be part of the problem. Of course, I'm old enough to remember when sodas had saccharine and aspartame was widely considered to be the devil's handiwork (causing seizures as well as the usual BS like cancer), so I don't know why I didn't think aspartame was a possible culprit.

I'm still not giving up the aspartame, even if I am addicted. When you have someone with diabetes in your house, you're not buying the sugary sodas.
posted by immlass at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2011


going to quit next week

I want this on my tombstone. I will be the talk of the cemetery.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is why coffee is so damn amazing. Everyone else at work goes through three or four diet cokes a day; I'm fine with one cup of delicious, delicious productivity juice (with a splash of cream, of course). If you have to do drugs at work -- and hell yes you do -- might as well do one with five or six hundred years worth of tradition behind it.
posted by vorfeed at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2011 [29 favorites]


I like to think of diet soda as diet soda... a few years ago i lost 40 lbs downing a diet dr pepper every time i craved a snack or sweet thing. it kept my belly full. ymmv
dont drink much diet soda now, but it helped me then
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


64 oz of diet coke every morning.

If my US-oz-to-litres conversion is right, in my 20s I used to drink over 200 oz of diet cola a day. I just couldn't stop talking a lot of the time. These days I'm down to a third of that, and things have stopped spinning and flashing quite so much.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:36 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whatever else you do this day, tumid dahlia, take away with you the fact that you made me laugh out loud -- a lot! Thanks a bunch for that.
posted by Mike D at 2:36 PM on March 2, 2011


[moved the more to inside]
posted by jessamyn at 2:36 PM on March 2, 2011


So for a while I was trying to lose weight; part of this was shifting to Diet Coke. After a while I got sick of that and switched to water. (I don't recall any withdrawal symptoms.) I'd formed the habit of Drinking Coca-Cola as a kid in the seventies and stuck with it long after it quit being satisfying when they shifted to high fructose corn syrup; a few years of the equally unsatisfying aspartame just kinda killed the habit.

Now and then I'll buy a small-bottler soda that's made with cane sugar. Once I discovered these existed it was amazing; I'd have one bottle of the stuff and I'd have had enough. Which I hadn't had since New Coke and the switch away from cane sugar; the HFCS and the aspartame just kinda tickled that desire for "sweet" and didn't satisfy it. Resulting, as often as not, in yet another swig from a Big Gulp or a 2-liter bottle or whatever. Which reminded me that drinking sweet stuff is nice and maybe I should go find some, oh look here's that 2-litre I guess I'll have another swig... repeat ad infinitum or at least ad kidney lapidem secundus.

I spend more per ounce on what I drink now, but I drink a lot less of it. I'm pretty sure it averages out to less money spent on the stuff overall. To a corporation that's become a huge profit-driven Thing that must keep on expanding or die, that is exactly what they don't want - someone having a desire, almost fulfilling it, but failing to is someone who is going to go through a lot more of your product because of the craving you're promising to fill but really just barely tickling.

Yeah, I think that's the kind of behavioral loop we now refer to as "addiction".
posted by egypturnash at 2:37 PM on March 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is why coffee is so damn amazing. Everyone else at work goes through three or four diet cokes a day; I'm fine with one cup of delicious, delicious productivity juice (with a splash of cream, of course). If you have to do drugs at work -- and hell yes you do -- might as well do one with five or six hundred years worth of tradition behind it.

You aren't aware that cream causes liver disease and brain cancer?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2011


You aren't aware that cream causes liver disease and brain cancer?

Nope.
posted by arveale at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2011


Americanos and chewing gum are the answer to a long day at work.
posted by msbutah at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


...might as well do one with five or six hundred years worth of tradition behind it.

HISTORY FOUND TO CONTAIN BARBARISM, GENOCIDE AND SLAVERY; LIKELY TO BE BANNED
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2011 [12 favorites]


tumid dahlia, typing all these comments.. you are just asking for RSI.
posted by vidur at 2:47 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if they've done studies of people who drink Diet Soda vs. those who drink non-soda drinks that are also low or non calorie.

And I can see their point about having the artificial sweeteners getting the taste buds used to sweet; I drink primarily nonsweetened teas (herbal, green, and black) and water, with the occasional coffee thrown in for good measure.

A soda in comparison now tastes like I'm drinking out of an intense sugar fountain, and a diet soda tastes like they added some toxic plastic sludge to that fountain. Both of which cause my taste buds to scream "NO! NO! WE'LL BE GOOD! JUST MAKE IT STOP!"
posted by spinifex23 at 2:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you have to do drugs at work -- and hell yes you do -- might as well do one with five or six hundred years worth of tradition behind it.

I start the morning off with coffee, then switch to diet coke around noon. Is that bad?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:52 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


-How Aspartame Became Legal - The Timeline. Mentioned above.
In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame's clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it "might induce brain tumors."

The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to "call in his markers," to get it approved.
-On the same subject, I highly recommend the documentary Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World on the history of Aspartame, it's toxicity to humans, and how Donald Rumsfeld & co pushed it past the FDA using fraud and misrepresented research.

I feel pity for the poor people who walk up to my bar and ask for a diet coke gig after gig, party after party. I've handed diet sodas to pregnant women and mothers who then hand them onto theri young daughters. makes me want to cry.

Handing out sodas (diet- & regular) to people who are really out of shape and can barely walk is one of the more depressing aspects of this job that's pushing me out of this industry a little bit more, one party at a time.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:52 PM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


When I quit drinking alcohol, I started drinking Diet Coke. For a while I barely went anywhere without my knitting and a 20-ouncer. Harm reduction, I figured.

Until I noticed the bottles piling up behind the driver's seat in the car. And I started noticing how often I was getting migraines. After googling aspartame+migraine, I realized a lot of people think there's a link -- to say nothing of seizures and other scary stuff.

So I pretty much quit. (Except for sometimes. Like yesterday. Aaaah, the icy sting... whoops, wait, why am I up at 2:30 a.m.?) And sure enough, my migraines got a lot less frequent.

I'm happy to tell you it was not a tough kick -- not compared to alcohol, and a walk in the park in springtime compared to cigarettes. Of course I still drink coffee, so I wasn't quitting caffeine. That will be the very last of my vices to go, I swear.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:53 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


STARING AT BLUE SCREENS DECREASES NIGHT VISION.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:54 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I miss most about Japan is being able to go into any convenience store and be able to choose from at least 20 different varieties of chilled, bottled tea, especially on a 110 degree summer day. Here all that's available is sugary drinks that taste like malted battery acid (although, to be fair, you cannot get Slurpees in Japan).

Or, if you want to save money and avoid creating a metric tonne of plastic waste, I miss being able to go into any supermarket and being able to purchase little tea bags that I can use to cold brew liters and liters of delicious chilled green tea in the summer. You can get them here sometimes, but they're expensive and the tea doesn't always taste that good.

Why we need to have sugary drinks past the age of about 15 I will never know.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:55 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


le morte de bea arthur: If my US-oz-to-litres conversion is right, in my 20s I used to drink over 200 oz of diet cola a day. I just couldn't stop talking a lot of the time. These days I'm down to a third of that, and things have stopped spinning and flashing quite so much.

That would be in the ballpark of 6L a day. Jeezus.

spinifex23: A soda in comparison now tastes like I'm drinking out of an intense sugar fountain, and a diet soda tastes like they added some toxic plastic sludge to that fountain. Both of which cause my taste buds to scream "NO! NO! WE'LL BE GOOD! JUST MAKE IT STOP!"

Yep. Can't take all that sweet anymore, and honestly I'm really glad about it.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:56 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing I miss most about Japan is being able to go into any convenience store and be able to choose from at least 20 different varieties of chilled, bottled tea, especially on a 110 degree summer day.

When I am Queen, the relative availability of unsweetened iced tea and Diet Coke will be reversed.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2011 [18 favorites]


Aspartame has always tasted bad to me, like something my body doesn't want me drinking. And it at least seemed to make my head feel odd, not really a headache, just a little uncomfortable. So when I hear it's bad for you, I tend to believe that might be so, even if science says its okay.

Of course it's anecdata, and maybe it psychosomatic, but I've talked to others who get the same reaction. My wife, however, must have her diet soda. AceK (Asulfame potassium) sweetener doesn't taste near as bad to me, but I still don't like it.
posted by tommyD at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe people are addicted to the sensation of sweetness as their instincts interpret it as a source of nourishing carbohydrates, while the rational mind assumes there are no consequences? Hence turning our natural desires towards us consuming an artificial product in excessive amounts, without much in the way of brakes from the consciousness.

Or maybe I'm overthinking it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:59 PM on March 2, 2011


People addicted to water! Halting water consumption leads to headaches, dry mouth, and nausea! Eventually causes death!

I am cutting back on Diet Soda and replacing it with coffee (which gives me terrible withdrawal headeaches on weekends) and iced tea, but at the same time I'm skeptical of the research that finds negative effects of Diet Sodas, especially since in longitudinal studies they have a hard time controlling for population. Essentially, I'm seeing a lot of "maybes" and "possiblies" without a lot of definite answers yet.
posted by muddgirl at 3:05 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]



When I am Queen, the relative availability of unsweetened iced tea and Diet Coke will be reversed.


A tea bag and a glass of ice aren't hard to find.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:05 PM on March 2, 2011


The FDA admits adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints it receives each year.

Huh.
posted by Go Banana at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


The health concerns are bullshit.

So y'all cool with me smoking in here? Thanks.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:13 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


This doesn't seem all that complicated to me. Eating sugar makes you want more sugar. Drinking fake sugar makes you want more fake or real sugar. If you never eat sugar it's easier to ignore eating sugar.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:13 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]



So y'all cool with me smoking in here? Thanks.


Are you cool with me dumping diet soda on your head?


The FDA admits adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints it receives each year.


Well, if Rense is on board I'm convinced. :)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:14 PM on March 2, 2011


A tea bag and a glass of ice aren't hard to find.

There's a microwave and ice machine at my office, and I brew up big cups of iced green tea. Very refreshing.

I'm guilty of diet soda overconsumption at times, but I think my anticorporate biases are starting to override the 75-cent convenience of the soda machine.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:15 PM on March 2, 2011


The FDA admits adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints it receives each year.

Source: PRWEB. Author: Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum Mission Possible International.

Eating sugar makes you want more sugar.

Cite?
posted by muddgirl at 3:16 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are these diet-soda fiends true addicts? And if so, what are they addicted to?

One factor might be the bite of the carbonation. Heroin addicts can become addicted to the pinch of the needle, which, even alone, can trigger a physical response through operant conditioning.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:16 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rense? Seriously? That's like citing TimeCube as a physics authority. It's not even wrong.
posted by scrump at 3:17 PM on March 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


You aren't aware that cream causes liver disease and brain cancer?

Not any more than everything else does!

oh, cream, this world has only one sweet moment set aside for us...
posted by vorfeed at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2011


Eating sugar makes you want more sugar. Drinking fake sugar makes you want more fake or real sugar. If you never eat sugar it's easier to ignore eating sugar.

This.

I used to be a huge soda drinker. Like, multiple 2-liter bottles per day. Then circumstances in my life changed and I started cutting out stimulants, so the caffeine had to go. And the amazing thing? I hardly ever want to choose a soda anymore. I find when I do choose soda, it's because my only other choices available are crappy fake iced tea and crappy fake juice or lemonade. And then, I find I bounce off the walls for at least 2 hours after having the soda.

Our culture makes it very easy to make choices which are only provided to line the pockets of large multi-nationals who make bank by producing products which are nearly free and charging you a pretty penny for them. Overcome the deprogramming and save your money. You'll be glad you did, all around.
posted by hippybear at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just quit a 6 year Diet Mtn Dew addiction and switched to Yerba Maté (or whatever tea is available in it's stead) and I feel awesome.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your link is a press release, Banana.

It's surprising how thin the data is on this. The phosphoric acid destroying your bones thing? Few studies, some find effect, some find none, effect found is small. The aspartame thing—virtually nothing shown in actual humans, lots of innuendo because of its connections.

Addiction? Well, that would require actual negative consequences, none of which I'm really seeing here. The problem is that fat people drink diet sodas in an attempt to lose weight—but that's very hard and obesity itself is linked with health problems. Working out the confounding variables is difficult.

I was a heroin and cocaine addict, love sweets and drink about a half a diet coke with lunch and have some diet gingerale with dinner. Nothing bad seems to have happened yet. No craving and I'm at a healthy weight.
posted by Maias at 3:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, found a somewhat-reliable source for "some sugar causes sugar-specific cravings". But it also contains this unintentionally humorous factoid:
Babies are born with a sweet tooth. Human milk is quite sweet, so a child begins life making the connection between eating, drinking, and pleasure.
The La Leche League must be responsible for our obesity epidemic!
posted by muddgirl at 3:20 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Carlin joked that if marijuana was a gateway drug, breast milk was the worst as it leads to *everything*. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:21 PM on March 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I like drinking diet coke with my lunch sometimes, or when it's very hot.

What I'm addicted to is neither Apartame nor carbonation, but the hilarious reactions of "foodie" snobs and conspiracy theory hippies around me. I guess I'll get a much stronger fix in the upcoming months as I'm pregnant and beginning to show - looking forward to a barrage of finger-wagging from well-meaning mega-mothers. Yay!
posted by The Toad at 3:23 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another of his routines was a newscaster announcing that saliva causes cancer, but only when ingested in small quantities over a long period of time.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:24 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


but I think my anticorporate biases are starting to override the 75-cent convenience of the soda machine.

A 500ml bottle of pop costs $2.50 where I live, a can $1.50.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:25 PM on March 2, 2011


Actually, even my link doens't provide any good evidence for "sugar causes sugar cravings" as a blanket truth for all people.
posted by muddgirl at 3:26 PM on March 2, 2011


That would be in the ballpark of 6L a day. Jeezus.

Any excuse to link to one of my favourite Onion articles: Coca-Cola Introduces New 30-Liter Size. Bonus points for the phrase "a resounding display of its corporate might".
posted by kersplunk at 3:30 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


@KokoRyu Depending on where I buy it, a 2-liter is often $1.50, it's just not available in the break room 20 feet from my office. :) More the reason to brew my own tea.

Tangentially, my organization has stopped providing free coffee and instead installed some sort of unholy "gourmet" coffee dispensing device. A cup of something almost entirely unlike coffee will set you back $1.50 I think, with prices going up from there for other variations.

Everything's been way more irritable around here lately. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:30 PM on March 2, 2011


Once, as I stocked up a cartload of $0.69 Diet Coke/Coke Zero 2-liters, a fellow shopper remarked she was glad to meet someone with a worse Diet Coke problem than her own.

As a user, it's clearly more addictive than most foods.
posted by polyhedron at 3:31 PM on March 2, 2011


I stopped drinking soda or even keeping it in the house when my son's doctor advised no soda ever. A couple months later I had lost five pounds, gotten rid of my heartburn, and found other foods tasted better. Haven't touched it since.
posted by FunkyHelix at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think part of it is magic calorie thinking. That if you eat or drink low calorie food, you've saved calories so you can eat other stuff and still be okay.

(imperfect example of this)
Snackers more likely to over eat low-fat food
http://www.naturalnews.com/021312.html

I use to work at a pizza place way back and trust me, when you order a large supreme with extra, extra cheese that 6 pack of diet coke ain't gonna make it all better and ya, there are people who do this. And having worked somewhere you could have free or cheap soda, quitting can be a bitch.
posted by stray thoughts at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2011


Plain seltzer water, fresh lime, and some real good honey. Not calorie free, only slightly more expensive than soda, a little bit healthier, and a thousand times more delicious and refreshing.
posted by raztaj at 3:34 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Although, without soda (or, rather, "soft drink") I'm not sure what it is I'm supposed to mix 50/50 with my bourbon. Any recommendations? Knew a guy who used to drink it with milk. 'Course, most nights he threw up on the floor next to the bed, and before setting about his business (of sitting around drinking and smoking and watching The Simpsons over and over and over again on his PC) the next day, would mop his puke under the bed so he didn't have to step in it. Surprisingly not dead yet but his teeth are the colour of baked beans.

Anyway, sorry, and good alternative mixers that aren't soft drinks, specifically to have with bourbon?
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:36 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just give me plain white bread with a glass of water on the side for dippin'
posted by Ad hominem at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Plain seltzer water...

Seltzer or salsa?
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2011


That if you eat or drink low calorie food, you've saved calories so you can eat other stuff and still be okay.

But... umm... you are saving Calories.
A study reported by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as cola was associated with an overall greater daily caloric intake, which may lead to weight gain and has been shown to increase the risk of obesity. This increased consumption is thought to arise from liquids not being as filling as solid foods. Therefore, even though colas are calorie-dense, they do not satisfy your appetite, so you tend to eat more food in addition to drinking the calorie-dense beverage.
Or are you arguing that diet soda has hidden calories?
posted by muddgirl at 3:37 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So.....what percentage of complaints to the FDA are about aspartame then? Is the 80% figure an out and out lie?

I'm not convinced one way or the other about the evils of aspartame, I just think it's worth noticing that lots of people seem to experience adverse reactions to it, and that it seems to be rather addictive for some people. My pharmaceutical chemistry prof also had rather frightening things to say about it collecting in the lining between the two hemispheres of the brain (no, I don't have a cite). I chew gum containing aspartame, but I wouldn't consume it in massive quantities. I figure moderation can't be a bad thing when you're talking about an artificial substance.

And it's Go Banana, not Banana. The Simpsons reference makes no sense otherwise!!
posted by Go Banana at 3:39 PM on March 2, 2011



I use to work at a pizza place way back and trust me, when you order a large supreme with extra, extra cheese that 6 pack of diet coke ain't gonna make it all better and ya, there are people who do this.


Why would anyone have a problem with this? You are still better off than with the six pack of beer or sugar-soda, "Well, you have a gun shot wound so you might as well just go ahead and stab yourself..."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Seltzer or salsa?

George said seltzer! SELTZER! George is getting upset!
posted by raztaj at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2011


and that 3% of diet-soda drinkers have at least four daily

I'm in the top 3%! Woot!

But yeah, its definitely not caffeine as I drink more decaf diet soda than caffeinated diet soda. I get my caffeine from coffee (4-5 cups a day -- soda doesn't cut it anymore). I just got so used to flavored carbonated water from when I drank Regular Coke that I can't give up the simulacra.

Still has to be better than drinking that much sugar. And I just quit smoking last year so my health-related willpower is all used up.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:45 PM on March 2, 2011


:D

(Anybody know when Curb is coming back on?)
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:45 PM on March 2, 2011


I drink a ton of artificial sweetened stuff, why not? The health concerns are bullshit.

Always good to be open minded.

Anyway, sorry, and good alternative mixers that aren't soft drinks, specifically to have with bourbon?

Aren't mixers by definition "soft drinks"? Juices work fine--I like bourbon and lemonade.

Dam, if you're gonna get addicted, get addicted to something less lame, dammit.

I LOLed, jonmc. Isn't that coming from a cigarette smoker?! Talk about a lame-ass buzz-to-addictiveness ratio. Pot, meet Kettle.

This kind of "Have your sugar and EAT IT TOO" thing drives me a little gonzo and I think it sends the wrong message.

Looks like it also sends the wrong messages to your body as well.

If you have to do drugs at work -- and hell yes you do -- might as well do one with five or six hundred years worth of tradition behind it.

Ayahuasca?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:47 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who drink diet soda gain weight because they are the people who are inclined to gain weight. If they weren't worried about being fat, they wouldn't be drinking diet soda. This is not difficult and I don't know why so many people have trouble with this.
posted by darksasami at 3:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [11 favorites]



(Anybody know when Curb is coming back on?)


Sometime this year, and it will be awesome.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:49 PM on March 2, 2011


I'll drink one or two a day on the weekdays and I do that because it's cold, fizzy thirst quenching and delicious.
posted by zeoslap at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2011


As a fat person with a diet soda problem, I assure you that the decision to *start* drinking diet soda may be a calorie-based decision, but after that it's just what you drink. Yes, I am aware that when I eat [Thing You Don't Approve of Me Eating] and a diet soda, judgmental assholes will wonder why I don't just pour a big sugared soda down my gullet instead. It's because I don't drink sugar soda. For one thing, I went through all that agony of getting used to the taste of diet soda, I'm not going to fuck that up now. Secondly, my insulin resistance can quasi-cope with either trigger food or a big glass of liquid sugar, but not both - and the pizza tastes good, corn syrup tastes weird.

Being fat doesn't make me stupid, and I've never calculated diet soda "undid" any of my other crimes. Please stop perpetuating that stereotype.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2011 [35 favorites]



I drink a ton of artificial sweetened stuff, why not? The health concerns are bullshit.

Always good to be open minded.


I was open minded for the first 50 Aspartame scares and the first 50 cell phone cancer scares. Now people are citing Rense, and I'm not gonna be open minded anymore. :)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:52 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not surprised that some people do experience a negative reaction to aspartame - I feel like I experience a slight negative reaction to Splenda, and I avoid it when I can. But "slight negative reaction" does not equal danger to health and humanity.
posted by muddgirl at 3:54 PM on March 2, 2011


At what point did 'liking to do something that's not harming anyone' become 'addiction'? I drink diet soda because I like to; I go days without it, sometimes, and don't notice any ill effects, but I tend to drink three or four cans a day at work. It's cheap, it's tasty, and I like it.

I've given up drinking and drugs. I've quit overeating, and lost 70 pounds. Those were actually harmful, and quitting them had measurable, massive positive impacts on my life.

Quitting diet soda? Who the hell cares? How Puritan can we possibly get?

(Especially when there's stuff like Cherry Coke Zero on the market. And Diet Dr. Pepper, of course, even the vanilla flavor. Diet ginger ale. Diet cream soda. And if you squeeze a lime wedge or two in a Diet Coke, it's really awesome. Yum.)
posted by MrVisible at 3:56 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


All this confirms my decision to stick with safe, sensible beer.
posted by cccorlew at 3:58 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Okay, I had no idea Rense was an Alex Jones type before I linked to it. Whether or not the Aspartame timeline listed is accurate or not, bad messenger to choose. Should have looked closer.

I also suspect that no one who drinks aspartame soda and likes it is going to actually watch Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, but I still find it convincing.

I guess I wish the aspartame drinkers the best of luck. The geisha eventually learned that lead-based paint was bad for them. These things, it seems, take time.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


GilloD: "I've always been philosophically opposed to artificial sweeteners: If you want the sugary rush, you should have to deal with the consequences. This kind of "Have your sugar and EAT IT TOO" thing drives me a little gonzo and I think it sends the wrong message"

Yeah, screw those diabetics!
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:14 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


My Cherry Coke Zero is like crack to me. Except for all the negative effects. I mean, the worst thing that happens is, I buy more when I run out.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:16 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


All soda - "diet" or otherwise - is nasty, evil, unhealthy, sickly crap that no one over the age of twelve has any business drinking.
posted by Decani at 4:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


If they weren't worried about being fat, they wouldn't be drinking diet soda

I know/have known many people who prefer it for its less syrupy flavor, and for no other reason.
posted by everichon at 4:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I LOLed, jonmc. Isn't that coming from a cigarette smoker?! Talk about a lame-ass buzz-to-addictiveness ratio. Pot, meet Kettle.

grimm, I quit smoking two years ago when I was housebound with a foot fracture. Of course, I'm 200+ pounds now, but I'll take that over lung cancer.
posted by jonmc at 4:19 PM on March 2, 2011


The geisha eventually learned that lead-based paint was bad for them. These things, it seems, take time.

Just like vaccines and autism, which the person who directed that video also believes, among other things.

A close examination of the U.S. Corporate power stucture demonstates that neurotoxic foods resulting in a dumber populace is simply a matter of policy.
posted by zabuni at 4:20 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



All soda - "diet" or otherwise - is nasty, evil, unhealthy, sickly crap that no one over the age of twelve has any business drinking.


Sanctimony is addictive.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:22 PM on March 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


Pomposity, too.
posted by jonmc at 4:23 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've always been philosophically opposed to artificial sweeteners: If you want the sugary rush, you should have to deal with the consequences. This kind of "Have your sugar and EAT IT TOO" thing drives me a little gonzo and I think it sends the wrong message

Sounds like the nutcases who are against birth control. Without condoms or the pill, people start fucking, you know, just for the fun of it. And then were does that lead us!!!?!

I know/have known many people who prefer it for its less syrupy flavor, and for no other reason.

This seems to apply to me. I like Coke, but it's so damn sticky sweet, I can't even finish a can. For me, the diet stuff gets it right as a sweetened drink.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:24 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drinking diet fizzy drinks has nothing to do with avoiding the calories of full sugar ones, and like Lyn Never, and I suspect the majority of heavier people, its got nowt to do with "making up" for the calories of anything else. I drink it because I like it. I think the sugary stuff tastes like crap, but I like the taste of the diet version. And the texture of the bubbles. And the cold biting sensation of gulping an icy swallow on a hot day...

Damn. I want a drink now...
posted by talitha_kumi at 4:24 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Further anecdata:

I drink ~ 2 liters of diet coke a day. And I'm just f
posted by Splunge at 4:28 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


A close examination of the U.S. Corporate power stucture demonstates that neurotoxic foods resulting in a dumber populace is simply a matter of policy.

Not gonna defend that either. Just gonna reiterate "Good luck" and go drink m'self a glass of water.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:29 PM on March 2, 2011


Diet Coke is a sociopathic, union-busting Wall Street executive, hellbent on crushing opposition to the Libyan government, protesting soldiers' funerals and delaying the release of the iPad 2.
posted by gagglezoomer at 4:33 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I keep seeing this conversation play out here, and its parallel in real life.

"How can you drink that stuff?"
"I like it."
"Yeah, but it's bad for you!"
"What part?"
"It's loaded with ____________!"
"Show me research that prove that ________ is bad for you, and I'll quit."

The research turns out to be vague, inconclusive, or downright flaky, every time. Despite that, the same conversation repeats itself constantly.

I chalk it up to people needing to feel superior. Then I go enjoy a delicious, calorie-free beverage, made possible by the wonders of technology, and gloat that I can do this without any vaguely schoolmarmish guilt.
posted by MrVisible at 4:34 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ugh diet soda. I drink it occasionally but discussions about it just bring to mind the year that I was 19 and started drinking amidst a bunch of my then-boyfriend's friends who were all on atkins and all they drank were "cocktails" of either crystal light and too much cheap vodka or diet orange crush and too much cheap vodka and bleh it just makes me think about how it tasted coming up gag.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:38 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


People are having surprisingly fierce reactions to this post. I'll wager a guess that they're all people who drink artificial sweeteners. What is it about that stuff that gets people so worked up?
posted by brenton at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Switched to water and an occasional cup of tea with milk and Splenda. No headaches or other bullshit. Losing weight, unintended consequence. I quit diet sodas to save money. Just saying.
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:45 PM on March 2, 2011


Hi group, my name is pla. I have a problem.

I drink water. And not just a little water - Usually at least six, sometimes over ten glasses a day. I've tried to give it up - Really, I have. Everything goes great for a few hours; then, inevitable, it starts. First, the dry mouth, then this intense craving, every cell of my body screaming for this damned poison. If I hold out long enough, I get weak, confused, can't walk without wobbling. I've heard you can even die of water withdrawal, but it doesn't much matter, I lack the willpower to make it long enough to find out.

Seriously, folks, WTF? You have to drink something, and about 64 water-equivalent ounces of something a day, at that. Whether I chose to drink coffee, water, soda, milk, OJ, or beer has little effect on that basic biological fact. Personally, I choose to use my daily fluid intake as a medium by which I get my daily dose of caffeine, in a flavor I prefer to coffee.

And if, perchance, I run out of my precious stock of diet soda... I can drink just plain water, or coffee, or something else without any problem. My preference does not equal "addiction".
posted by pla at 4:46 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The thing I miss most about Japan is being able to go into any convenience store and be able to choose from at least 20 different varieties of chilled, bottled tea, especially on a 110 degree summer day.

Yes! It was a revelation, having unsweetened drinks like this as an alternative. I was also a fan of being able to buy 1L cartons of cold oolong tea. There was this drink I was introduced to called oolong-hai that's cold oolong tea with shochu and ice...shochu's a hell of a drug.
posted by Hoopo at 4:46 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think soda of any type can tend to make a person eat more. The fizz, acidity, and sweet taste can balance the flavor of salty, greasy foods like chips and hamburgers and pizza and allow one to eat more of them.

I quit drinking (regular) soda briefly and found that all my food tasted too salty, and that I didn't want to eat as much of it. I was actually hungry all the time for a few weeks because in addition to cutting out several hundred empty calories per day I was undereating at meals. Also I got terrible headaches that I think were from sugar withdrawl since I switched to coffee for the caffeine.

Now a few years later I am drinking soda again although not as much as before. I do love it.
posted by mai at 4:46 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


All this confirms my decision to stick with safe, sensible beer.

Amen to that. Although I would actually be interested in an entirely unsweetened, cola-flavored fizzy drink for when I can't be drinking beer. That said, I usually don't go for sugar anyways.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:48 PM on March 2, 2011


You know what's good? Tonic water.

With gin in it.
posted by everichon at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'd favorite that a hundred times, simply because of the gin.

(And tonic, which is actually horribly calorific, but few things set off the gin nature of gin in such an eloquent way as the tangy bite of quinine.)
posted by hippybear at 4:50 PM on March 2, 2011


With gin in it.

QFT because I hit my favorite limit again.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:51 PM on March 2, 2011


"Show me research that prove that ________ is bad for you, and I'll quit."

Nothing conclusive, but it's my understanding Donald Rumsfeld was involved with the approval of aspartame.

What you do with that information is clearly your own business, but just so you know.
posted by weston at 4:52 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


KokuRyu: "500ml bottle of pop"

Pop? I thought we were talking about tonic.
posted by theredpen at 4:53 PM on March 2, 2011


Anecdata again, but I have a friend who was trying very hard to lose weight after a diagnosis of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Despite rigorously tracking her calories and walking 5 miles a day (including one steep, long hill), her weight didn't budge at all until she dropped her Diet Mountain Dew habit. With only that one change, she started losing weight at about a pound a week. She's now down nearly seventy pounds. One data point, plural of anecdote, you know the drill -- but it's interesting to me because her intake and exercise were so rigorously documented prior to that change.

Myself, I just plain don't drink sweetened beverages, whether with sugar or anything else, except for the occasional cocktail. Water is always an option, people!
posted by KathrynT at 5:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mmm! Benzene!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:30 PM on March 2, 2011


You know what I'm addicted to? Charlie Sheen.
posted by mecran01 at 5:42 PM on March 2, 2011


You know what I'm addicted to? Charlie Sheen.

I heard the Charlie Sheen around here is cut with Andy Dick.
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing I miss most about Japan is being able to go into any convenience store and be able to choose from at least 20 different varieties of chilled, bottled tea, especially on a 110 degree summer day.

Oh, my god. It wouldn't be so bad, being completely unable to buy any kind of unsweetened beverage at an American convenience store, if they didn't have all those vile fake "iced tea" drinks larded with sugar and, fuck, maybe with lard, who knows, taunting you and your desire for actual tea. It's downright sadistic.
posted by enn at 5:52 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well I took the first step years ago and admitted I have a problem....
2 liters Diet Coke a day minimum. Got to admit, some days it almost makes me sick, but the next morning that first 20oz is heaven.
What is my next step?
posted by evilelf at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


How's this for anecdata? I was a pudgy 205 lbs. with bad eating habits and I drank 8 regular sodas a day. I switched over to diet soda entirely (still 8 or so per day), didn't change much else or even exercise, and I dropped down to 164 within six months. Stayed there for a long time, too.

I am now back up to 205, but I don't mind it because this time I got there with steak, oats, milk, and a whole lot of squats and deadlifts. Still drink the diet soda, of course.

In any case, blaming diet sodas for weight gain because some folks get hungrier from them (sort of), or they make other folks crave sweeter foods is entirely beside the point. A lot of folks seem to want to elide the completely unsupported assertion that diet sodas directly cause weight gain, with the peripheral facts surrounding their use that might lead to other behaviors that can cause weight gain.

If a new drink on the market causes people to crave salty foods, then you are doing no one a service by saying this new drink is in isolation bad for those with high blood pressure. Considering how much woo-woo bullshit cokelore there is already, we don't need any more obfuscation.
posted by Theodore Sign at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what I'm addicted to? Charlie Sheen.

I heard the Charlie Sheen around here is cut with Andy Dick.


Gift Charlie Sheen an account here!
posted by vidur at 6:09 PM on March 2, 2011


Yes, finally the answer to all my bad life decisions- I pee too often!! Thanks science!! Wait, or is it the other way around....maybe I should start drinking diet soda. I only do that when hung over..another circular issue.
posted by bquarters at 6:25 PM on March 2, 2011


The issue is also self medication.

Shrink - "How much soda do you drink?"

Me - "Two 20oz bottles of Pepsi Max or Diet Mtn. Dew every day to start, maybe another two in the afternoon."

Shrink - "How does that make you feel?"

Me - "Calm and relaxed, ready for the day."

Shrink - "You drink enough caffeine to kill a good size mercenary outfit, and it makes you calm and relaxed? You have busted head-meats. Here's the scrip for Wellbutrin, ADHD-boy. Now knock off the tonic before it aces you."*


*If I had a shrink who actually spoke to me in these terms, I would pay them out of my own pocket if my insurance wouldn't. The sentiment was the same, said in mincing, diplomatic words.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:55 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Diet soda tastes like chemical waste, what the hell are you all thinking...? I drank regular soda for a few decades, but quit a year ago and don't miss it (and lost 30 lbs). I have to water down fruit juice with an equal part water at this point, way too sweet.

And the stores around me (in southern california) have unsweetened iced tea, at least a couple of brands. Hell, even Lipton makes it.
posted by Huck500 at 6:57 PM on March 2, 2011


I started drinking Diet Coke because my mom bought it in an effort to keep me from drinking her soda (a sixer of Coke for me, a sixer of Diet for her). This was back in the 70s when Diet Coke was made with saccharine and tasted like toxic waste. It was an acquired taste and after the aspartame version came out, I never drank regular Coke again. It is too sweet and syrupy. I love that I can spill a Diet Coke and it doesn't get everything all sticky. I dropped an old cellphone into a Diet Coke and after it dried out, it worked like a charm. I don't think a Sugar of HFCS drink would do that.

Today I'm fat (not as fat as I was but fatter than I should be) and consume lots of Diet Coke. But every summer I stop cold turkey just to see if I can. Never side effects. In 2009 my summer w/o Diet Coke lasted almost a year. I usually go back on the DC when a place won't have real iced tea (that fountain shit is not tea, it is noncarbonated tea flavored shit).

My go to drink when I'm not drinking Diet Coke is Topo Chico, or Peñafiel or Jarritos since they're delish and fizzy and don't cost an arm and a leg. In a pinch I'll get La Croix or Perrier.
posted by birdherder at 7:00 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why doesn't anyone ever blame the caffeine? Or the bubbles? Both of those dehydrate you, and dehydration just happens to have pretty much identical symptoms to aspartame-disorder.

I mean, it's pretty much physically impossible for the amount of aspartame a human can consume to be able to cause the symptoms they speak of.
posted by gjc at 7:01 PM on March 2, 2011


"Here's the scrip for Wellbutrin, ADHD-boy. Now knock off the tonic before it aces you."

ADHD person here. Psychiatrist gives me new prescription for Wellbutrin, and warns me to watch out for speediness and an inability to sleep. Call him immediately at [special number] if something doesn't feel right.

I thought he was going to shit nickels when I told him at the next appointment that I have never slept better in my life.
posted by gjc at 7:05 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love the bubbles and the sharpness. One of the things I love most of all is drinking Diet Coke with a fatty dessert (I know, lololol tubolard but I'm not...) because the Coke cuts through the fat and clears my palate, allowing me to taste again. Do note that I would eat this delicious wedding-flavored cake whether or not I had Diet Coke, but the drink helps me enjoy it more. Same as a glass of wine helps you enjoy your expensive steak.
posted by Night_owl at 7:08 PM on March 2, 2011


Gift Charlie Sheen an account here!

I was just thinking that some of his rants wouldn't sound that out of place as MeFi comments.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Someone I love buys 12-pk DCs and goes through them like they're going out of style, often in lieu of water. Ze worries about hir skin aging, headaches, & backaches, then I say that ze's dehydrated, and even alternating water and DC might help some. Aggro antics ensue.
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 7:15 PM on March 2, 2011


Well here is my $.45.

Aspartame breaks down and phenylalanine is made, this is a mood altering substance, and potentially toxic to the nervous system.



Another researcher in the last year, noticed taste buds in the beginning of the small intestine, which can not differentiate between artificial and real sweeteners, so this set of buds, sets off the insulin response anyway, to process the sugary taste. Insulin makes people tired if there is no sugar to process, it builds up.

I was reading about how the liver works, and why grapefruit does what it does. Grapefruit helps the liver process fats, by bypassing the liver's function to filter toxins. Well, aspartame also makes methyl alcohol, in small amounts, but as a constant feed from people who over consume, this could cause the liver to work full time on busting down the methyl alcohol, and then it does not process fats or carbohydrates, and just stores it all as fat.

So, you are drinking diet whatever like a bandit, tired all the time, and gaining weight, while your brain cells are blowing up, and craving sugar, because they run on sugar, but all they get is insulin, which is like a narcotic if it builds up.

Tap water. Just drink some freaking water, out of a cup, you use again, and again. Then many problems would be solved.
posted by Oyéah at 7:16 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


My drug of choice is Diet Dr. Pepper. I can drink a Diet Coke or a Coke Zero if necessary, and even a Diet Pepsi in truly dire situations, but if I had my druthers it would be Diet Dr. Pepper all the time. My classmates have started to mock my beginning-of-class routine of sitting down at the desk, setting up my laptop, and then pulling a can of Diet Dr. Pepper out of my bookbag and popping it open (I keep my fridge at home well-stocked with 12-packs and then put one or two in my bag before I leave the house, since it's not easy to track it down on campus. Also, cans > plastic bottles, by far). I usually have another one or two after I go home. I can't drink regular sodas anymore - waaaay too syrupy, and not refreshing like a diet soda (ideally a Diet Dr. Pepper). However, this kind of blew my mind:

And I started noticing how often I was getting migraines. After googling aspartame+migraine, I realized a lot of people think there's a link -- to say nothing of seizures and other scary stuff.

I get TERRIBLE migraines. And they started when I was about 22, got my first grown-up job, and started to live with a pile of diet soda cans on my desk at all times. If that's what explains it, I am going to be slightly relieved to have figured out what's wrong with me, but also majorly, majorly bummed out.

Tap water. Just drink some freaking water, out of a cup, you use again, and again. Then many problems would be solved.

NOT THE SAME.
posted by naoko at 7:19 PM on March 2, 2011


Just another data point: I change between drinking Coke Zero and cane sugar sodas on a pretty irregular schedule. It does certainly feel like I'm more hungry and drink more when I'm binging Zero. (Like 64oz a day)

Of course, this doesn't say much about whether it's good, neutral, or bad for me.
posted by ymgve at 7:21 PM on March 2, 2011


Tap water. Just drink some freaking water, out of a cup, you use again, and again. Then many problems would be solved.

NOT THE SAME.


Consider trying seltzer. I almost never drink soda anymore, because we drink seltzer instead (the mister and I can't wean ourselves off the convenience of cans and fizzy bubbles and all of that).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:28 PM on March 2, 2011


Oyéah: Aspartame breaks down and phenylalanine is made, this is a mood altering substance, and potentially toxic to the nervous system.

It's also one of the twenty basic amino acids, so unless you have an extremely restricted diet, you're eating some of it anyway. And it's an essential amino acid, so if you don't, you'll get malnutrition.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:30 PM on March 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I will never understand how people can stand the taste of diet soda. It gives me an incredibly intense aftertaste that just won't go away. Health issues? Who cares if it tastes like canned rancid ass.

But my taste peculiarities aside (I know I am in the minority on this issue), I think that with food there is no free lunch, as it were. I just don't think you can have zero calories, intensely sweet taste, and the carbonation, without having some kind of effect on your body.
posted by Forktine at 7:36 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love iced tea and drink unsweetened iced tea that I brew myself at home a lot, but it can be really difficult to buy the iced tea linked above in the South when you are out and about. The stores carry all the lemon-flavored diet and the sweetened diet and the sweetened sugary tea, etc., but plain unsweetened tea is anathema here. Publix has gallons sometimes. You can buy it at McDonald's or Chick-fil-a if you specify unsweetened and taste it to make sure they didn't just assume sweetened anyway (happens all the time). But just stopping by the store to pick up a little bottle of one-serving unsweetened tea? They never have it.

So I tend to drink too many diet drinks. I gave up regular soda completely a couple years ago because with my thyroid issues I have to watch my calories and I'd rather have actual food. I only eat when I'm hungry, track what I eat and do the only-80%-full deal as it is.

But all the talk about this or that or the next thing being unhealthy hurts my heart. I'm so tired of what we all shouldn't eat or drink. I think, perversely, I want that which I cannot have all the more because it is forbidden fruit. I know this is childish, but I still wish I didn't have to always think about what I am eating. I don't want to become one of those obsessed-with-their-diets people that end up talking about what they are and aren't eating all the time!

And now I am writing about it on Metafilter. Damnit!
posted by misha at 7:39 PM on March 2, 2011


I don't drink diet soda, low-fat milk, or lite beer. I don't wear fake leather or eat well-done steak or drink decaf coffee. What's the point?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:53 PM on March 2, 2011


Forktine: "I will never understand how people can stand the taste of diet soda. It gives me an incredibly intense aftertaste that just won't go away."

I was a huge real Coke fan for decades. I hated diet soda and ate no foods or drinks with artificial sweetners at all. When I went on a diet that meant I had to give up all sugar, I was advised to not switch to diet soda in order to really break my sugar dependency. Months later, I finally drank a Coke and it was like swallowing a bowl of sugar. It was gross.

On the off chance, I tried a Diet Coke and it... tasted the way Coke used to taste to me. I happily drink one or two a week now.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:04 PM on March 2, 2011


Full-fat milk coats my tongue unpleasantly. I drink 2%. Abita Light is delicious but has a totally different flavor from Abita Amber. I drink both, just in different circumstances. Fake leather is inexpensive and can therefore be worn when experimenting with fleeting trends or new personal styles. Coffee is delicious, but some people can't have caffeine.

I've already explained my Diet Coke. And well-done steak is an abomination to my mouth.
posted by Night_owl at 8:07 PM on March 2, 2011


I will never understand how people can stand the taste of diet soda. It gives me an incredibly intense aftertaste that just won't go away. Health issues? Who cares if it tastes like canned rancid ass.

I think it's an acquired taste. I resisted it for a loooong time, standing by regular soda until the end of high school or early in college, when the rest of my girls I knew had long been on the "calories make you a Fatty McNofriends" train. The peer pressure did me in eventually, though, and once you drink it for a little while, regular soda tastes weird and you can't go back. Especially once I ratcheted up from <1 a day to 2-4 a day. I am intrigued by people's seltzer concoctions, though.
posted by naoko at 8:08 PM on March 2, 2011


Wow, that Sweet Misery site seems to combine every insane anti-science conspiracy theory into one. Vaccines cause autism? Check. Psychiatry is an evil plot? Check. Government plotting to make a stress vaccine to make us all mellow? Check [Based on the work of scientist Robert Sapolsky, who is about as far from mind control tactics as Donald Rumsfeld is from Rachel Maddow politically.]

The guy who invented the speculum—used in virtually all gynecological exams—tested it on slave women in horribly unethical experiments. He also developed the treatment for vaginal fistula, a horrifying condition that can follow childbirth and causes urinary and fecal leakage via the same kind of painful, morally wrong experiments. Does this mean we should forget about all data received via specula and drop fistula repair surgery that saves the quality of life of millions? No.

You're going to have to give me something better than "Donald Rumsfeld is an evil corrupt bastard" to prove to me that aspartame is bad for you. Like, um, actual published peer-reviewed human data.
posted by Maias at 8:18 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a dear friend who was addicted to Diet Coke, she thinks to the artificial sweetener, as regular Coke (even the sugar-sweetened stuff) didn't satisfy. She quit cold-turkey because her doc told her she really didn't have a choice. It took her a year before the cravings went away, and even now (a couple of years later) she can't drink diet soda of any variety or the cravings come back. (yes, I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but still....it is indeed possible to be addicted to the stuff. and no, 3-4 cans a day is probably not enough to be considered addiction -- she was up to 10/day, iirc.)

Aspartame is just icky, IMO (and makes SonR aggressive), so we have no diet soda in the house. Then again, the three of us drink about a case of soda a week and usually less. (Yeah, we make a lot of koolaid and tea and Torani syrups in water. In addition to drinking plain old tap water.)
posted by jlkr at 8:44 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: "The FDA admits adverse reactions to aspartame comprise about 80 percent of consumer complaints it receives each year.

Source: PRWEB. Author: Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum Mission Possible International.

Eating sugar makes you want more sugar.

Cite
"

Be very careful, here. "Dr." Betty Martini is no such thing, she's a well-known internet kook from before the days of USENET, where she was banned and killfiled from more newsgroups and bulletin boards that one could care to count for spouting her particular monomania on aspartame. I'd take not one thing coming from any source she's involved in as worth anything whatsoever.
posted by pjern at 9:09 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Abita Light is delicious but has a totally different flavor from Abita Amber.

Yes, Abita Amber is for sybarites and epicureans, the beverage of poets, musicians, artists and magicians. Abita Light is for people who hate beer but want to drink it anyway.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:12 PM on March 2, 2011


pjern, you've quoted muddgirl-quoting-someone as if muddgirl herself said it. She was refuting the same claims you're refuting.

also earlier in the thread i favorited someone and i guess someone else did at the same time because the count jumped by two, but for a moment until i realized what happened i was thinking I AM THE GOD OF FAVORITES
posted by mendel at 9:31 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will fight you.

For beer.
posted by Night_owl at 9:34 PM on March 2, 2011


mendel: Yes, I see that on re-reading.
posted by pjern at 9:48 PM on March 2, 2011


Seriously, folks, WTF? You have to drink something, and about 64 water-equivalent ounces of something a day, at that.

No, no you don't. That's a widely believed myth but still a myth.
posted by Justinian at 10:27 PM on March 2, 2011


For example, you could eat a lot of bread - it's full of water - which is much better for your body.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:54 PM on March 2, 2011


For example, you could eat a lot of bread - it's full of water

And it tastes delicious toasted!
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:33 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eh. I drink a lot of diet pop. Part of it is that I'm always trying to count my calories and drinking a diet pop is a way to enjoy tasting something without the calories. I kinda feel like it's a waste of money and part of me thinks that I should cut back but the actual desire to cut back is so low. I drink caffeinated and non-caffeinated types, and have no preference for one over the other.
Months later, I finally drank a Coke and it was like swallowing a bowl of sugar. It was gross.
Yeah I can't stand full non-diet colas. Something like a sugared sprite or sunkist lemonade or something like that can taste pretty good (less of the artificial sweetener bitterness) but at the same time it just feels kind of gross to drink that much sugar.
posted by delmoi at 3:00 AM on March 3, 2011


Justinian : No, no you don't. That's a widely believed myth but still a myth.

Yes, yes you do.

You might disagree with the 64oz part, but I'd like to see you go a week without drinking anything - And no cheating by "eating" only bland soups. ;)

Personally, my body craves more than 64oz a day, and always has. I can easily drink almost a gallon of water a day (32 "glasses"), and almost always get at least half a gallon, consisting of about half diet soda and half actual water. And no, not diabetic, and my kidneys work just fine... And as a perk of that, I eat salt like candy, yet still have great blood pressure.

The first time I heard that "myth", I took it as an admonition to cut back on my fluid intake. :)
posted by pla at 3:28 AM on March 3, 2011


Yes, yes you do. You might disagree with the 64oz part, but I'd like to see you go a week without drinking anything

Let me get this straight, you've taken issue with my (correct) disagreement with the widely-believed-but-wrong blanket assertion one needs to drink 64 oz of water equivalent liquids per day by saying that people can't go a week without drinking anything?

The 64 oz thing was the entire focus of my disagreement! You can't say I'm wrong to point out you don't need to drink 64 oz of water a day because you need to drink something in a week! I mean... I don't... gah.
posted by Justinian at 4:12 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


The thing I miss most about Japan is being able to go into any convenience store and be able to choose from at least 20 different varieties of chilled, bottled tea, especially on a 110 degree summer day.

I miss that, and the vending machine in downtown Fujisawa which sold half-litre bottles of scotch. And the wine bottle vending machine in Nishi-Ogikubo.

My secret to not needing to drink soft drink, sweetened or otherwise, is to drink large amounts of tea. Black (or green), no sugar. Oh, and plenty of amphetamines.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:15 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Justinian : Let me get this straight, you've taken issue with my (correct) disagreement with the widely-believed-but-wrong blanket assertion one needs to drink 64 oz of water equivalent liquids per day by saying that people can't go a week without drinking anything?

I think we've argued in different directions here.

I accept the "64oz" as arbitrary. Perhaps you only need 32oz. But you do need some minimum number of ounces of water per day to remain healthy.
posted by pla at 5:55 AM on March 3, 2011


But you do need some minimum number of ounces of water per day to remain healthy.

You don't, however, need to consume that water as, well, water. Soup works, soda works, hell, as mentioned above, even bread works. You need fluid to live, but our bodies are quite resourceful about where to get it.
posted by Forktine at 6:15 AM on March 3, 2011


StickyCarpet: "One factor might be the bite of the carbonation"

I will freely admit to this. I am severely, incredibly, hopelessly addicted to the carbonation bite. I freely admit it.
I have gone so far as to purchase a second SodaStream for my office at work just so that I can always ensure ready access to carbonated beverages.

I really should cut down on the amount of diet soda I drink, though.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:39 AM on March 3, 2011


I can easily drink almost a gallon of water a day (32 "glasses")

Methinks your math is a bit off...
unless your "glasses" are really bitty
posted by BlooPen at 7:40 AM on March 3, 2011


BlooPen : Methinks your math is a bit off... unless your "glasses" are really bitty


Hmm, 4 cups per quart, 4 quarts per gallon... Yeah, make that 16, not 32. :I
posted by pla at 8:01 AM on March 3, 2011


Well, y'all have convinced me. It's 10 o'clock and I'm jonesing for my second Diet Coke of the day, but I'm drinking a glass of water instead. I hope you're happy.
posted by donajo at 8:10 AM on March 3, 2011


I've had roughly 32 oz. of coffee so far today. It was great.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2011


delmoi: "Eh. I drink a lot of diet pop."

Coke. Or maybe soda. Never pop. Never forget.
posted by Night_owl at 8:25 AM on March 3, 2011


SODIE POP
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 AM on March 3, 2011


One factor might be the bite of the carbonation. Heroin addicts can become addicted to the pinch of the needle

This is definitely a thing for me. We bought a Sodastream and my soda and beer intakes dropped substantially. Turns out I just like the bubbles.
posted by Zozo at 8:44 AM on March 3, 2011


Diet Coke, around 8 12 oz cans per day (total 96 oz/6 US pints/2.8 l), same routine for the last seven years. There's something comforting about the feel of the can, even down to the texture of the print.
posted by mdoar at 8:54 AM on March 3, 2011


So far in this conversation, I've heard lots from the water-only puritans, and then lots from the folks who drink a barrel a day of soda, but little mention of, like, moderation.

Boy does that kid look alert.
posted by everichon at 9:28 AM on March 3, 2011


Regarding the lack of peer-reviewed articles and data, keep in mind that there's no incentive for the makers of artificial sweeteners to research and publish on the potential adverse effects of their products. And I don't see any rational reason to give them the benefit of the doubt on this - why should we assume that the absence of evidence is the evidence of absence?

Our US public health agencies are not going do anything to help here. They are under no mandate to apply the precautionary principle when deciding to approve these products for sale. They don't ask "show us it's safe"; all they ask is "show us you don't know it's harmful".

Note there's nothing stopping the makers from doing the research needed to give the public more confidence that normal long-term consumption of their products is safe. But this would subtract money from their bottom line, so until the public - or the government - demands it, I wouldn't expect them to do it. Until they do, we have every reason to remain skeptical.

Given this situation, the safe choice is to stick with beverages with simple, natural ingredients - tea, coffee, beer and the like. They have centuries of known, relatively safe, usage across large populations. That's not the same as peer-reviewed data, but it's probably more trustworthy evidence than you'll get from the makers of all these artificial sweeteners.
posted by kgander at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I drink, like, between 0 and 48 oz. of Diet Coke a day. Does that count as moderation?
posted by Night_owl at 9:35 AM on March 3, 2011


but little mention of, like, moderation.

Wow, That Nehi Orange Drink label is a minimalist masterpiece.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:47 AM on March 3, 2011


This FPP made me think of the Shangri La Diet which I followed for a while back when it was just a couple research papers by dude; lost 30 lbs without doing a damn thing

As for the how-much-water-to-drink question, this was actually addressed in the most recent publication by the ultimate arbiters of truth:
How many glasses of water should you drink every day?
Eight is too many.
You lose water every second of the day through excreting, sweating or simply breathing, so you need to take in liquid to avoid becoming dehydrated. But the advice that you should drink eight glasses of water a day is just plain wrong.
In 1945 a British Medical Journal report advised that adults should consume 2.5 litres of water daily but specified that 'most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods'. In the sixty years since, this important final sentence seems to have fallen by the wayside. A normal diet contains enough embedded water for us, theoretically, not to need to drink anything at all.
Drinking lots of glasses of water on top of your normal consumption of food and drink will only make you urinate more.
It's often said that drinking water is good for flushing out your system and keeping your skin blemish-free, but the evidence is patchy. Your kidneys may be helped to remove excess salt in the short term but unless you've been overdosing on crisps (or alcohol) there is no particular benefit. Chronic dehydration makes your skin drier and more elastic, but taking in extra water won't remove your wrinkles and it's unlikely to stop you from getting spots.
Treating dehydration involves more than just water. You need to replace sugar and salts as well, so try eating watermelons. They're rich in sugar, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Papaya's good, too, as are coconut, cucumber and celery.
The salts and sugars are necessary because they help transport the water around the body. If you find watermelons spoil the line of your safari suit, you can buy sachets of rehydration powders from chemists and travel agents. Those contain glucose and salts - but you'll still need to source your own water to dissolve them in - which is where watermelons win: they're 92 percent water.
Too much water, on the other hand, can be lethal. 'Water intoxication' or hyponatremia (from Greek hypo, 'under', Latin natrium, 'sodium', and Greek haima, 'blood') is caused by over-dilution of essential body salts. Excess water is expelled from the blood into other cells, which then expand and rupture - leading to nausea, headaches, disorientation and, eventually, death.
In conclusion, diet soda tastes awful, but that's just my opinion.
posted by jtron at 10:36 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heroin addicts can become addicted to the pinch of the needle

Um, no. Some people will shoot water if they can't get drugs but this wears thin pretty quickly, so it could hardly be called an addiction. People can become compulsive around the act of injecting, but take away the actual drugs and the injections fall off pretty quickly.
posted by Maias at 1:03 PM on March 3, 2011


I used to bemoan that I couldn't abide the taste of artificial sweeteners - all those lovely sodas I couldn't go near. Kinda glad now.

it can be really difficult to buy the iced tea linked above in the South when you are out and about. The stores carry all the lemon-flavored diet and the sweetened diet and the sweetened sugary tea, etc., but plain unsweetened tea is anathema here

Same in the North. My local bodega has a 50-foot refrigerator case filled with all manner of colas, sodas, teas, flavored waters, exotic Asian drinks with gross-looking stuff floating in them - seriously, like 200 different beverages. And even among the "healthy" or "lite" teas and special waters, it is impossible to find anything that doesn't have sugar or a sugar substitute. Am I really the only one looking for say, some nice unsweetened green tea with mint?
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aspartame breaks down and phenylalanine is made, this is a mood altering substance, and potentially toxic to the nervous system.

A serving of meat, eggs, or dairy will contain roughly ten times the phenylalanine as a can of diet soda. I suggest you reconsider the logic of your statement in light of this fact.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:56 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


we drink seltzer instead (the mister and I can't wean ourselves off the convenience of cans and fizzy bubbles and all of that) - Us too! Joseph Priestley is one of my personal heroes. :)
posted by epersonae at 5:13 PM on March 3, 2011


It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of Zero that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire sweetness, the sweetness become a burning.
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:54 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Btw, if we used the precautionary principle, we'd never have created airplanes, let alone gone to the moon, had most drugs, fertility treatments, vaccines (!), cars and a million other things. It sounds good on paper—and it certainly makes sense to test things before you market them—but there's also the case of accidentally taking on more risk in an attempt to reduce risk. Life is risk: you might drive because you fear flying but you'd actually be increasing your risk of death. You can't consider risk out of context and that's what the precautionary principle tends to do. It doesn't recognize the risk of *not* changing.

Not simple.
posted by Maias at 8:20 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know I'm late getting back to replies to my comment but since whatever you put up on the internet can be around forever, I wanted to explain better.


That if you eat or drink low calorie food, you've saved calories so you can eat other stuff and still be okay.

But... umm... you are saving Calories.

A study reported by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as cola was associated with an overall greater daily caloric intake, which may lead to weight gain and has been shown to increase the risk of obesity. This increased consumption is thought to arise from liquids not being as filling as solid foods. Therefore, even though colas are calorie-dense, they do not satisfy your appetite, so you tend to eat more food in addition to drinking the calorie-dense beverage.

Or are you arguing that diet soda has hidden calories?


I don't think diet soda has hidden calories. You might be saving calories that would have been in the soda but if you eat more than normal because you "saved" calories, you'll still gain weight.

I use to work at a pizza place way back and trust me, when you order a large supreme with extra, extra cheese that 6 pack of diet coke ain't gonna make it all better and ya, there are people who do this.

Why would anyone have a problem with this? You are still better off than with the six pack of beer or sugar-soda, "Well, you have a gun shot wound so you might as well just go ahead and stab yourself..."


The problem with it is the mindset. Like people who save money by buying something on sale. They've still spent money, not saved money (like putting it in a rainy day fund). It's less calories than a 6 pack of regular soda but would you still get a large one of the highest calorie pizzas available if you didn't tell yourself you saved all those calories from getting diet soda. The extra, extra cheese adds a lot of calories on top of the fatty meats.

The customers I remembered were a very nice, extremely overweight couple (by a couple hundred pounds each) who'd order a couple times a week. They would have been better off getting a medium pizza with 2 regular cokes calorie wise instead of sizing up and getting diet.
posted by stray thoughts at 12:06 AM on March 6, 2011


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