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Diet Soda that Sh*t is going to kill you....especially if you are a woman.....

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If you haven't seen this all over the news the past few days here is an article for you. For clarification purposes the article or study goes on to explain they don't find a direct link between the soda and heart disease, but rather a trend of unhealthy practices between the majority of diet soda drinkers and higher levels of obesity, smoking and diabetes. It really draws a pretty (un)attractive portrait of female diet soda drinkers.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101536768

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  1. I suspect diet sodas drinkers are not much less attractive than regular soda drinkers. Since I don't drink coffee, etc., I'm not too worried about the couple of diet sodas I drink each week.

    1. There are any number of things consumed by an at-risk person in this study that are more likely connected to real risk. This is just sloppy "science."

      1. As for the "especially if you're a woman" part, women are the majority of diet soda drinkers, so there are no surprises there, either. But it's still silly science.

        1. This same story comes out nearly every other year.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Exactly. As in, "this is news???" Are there people who still think any kind of soda is good for you...?

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Well this report doesn't even go so far as saying it's bad for you.

          2. Correlation does not imply causation.

            2 Replies
            1. re: janniecooks

              And covariance does not imply correlation.

              1. re: janniecooks

                Another example of "post hoc ergo propter hoc."

              2. I have met at least 50 marathon runners.

                None have surpassed the age of ninety. They have died before reaching that age.

                Running marathons will kill you.

                There may be those who have lived longer, but since they don't fit into my perceptions, they are not relevant.

                3 Replies
                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  See this for the health risks of marathon runners:
                  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05...

                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    Reading the comments there, I can see marathoners have a lot of denial going on. They admit they love the runner's high and don't really care about what all that running is doing to their hearts.

                    1. re: smoledman

                      Agreed about the denial. I also wonder what kind of permanent joint and skeletal problems arise from long-term running.

                2. "Our study suggests an association between higher diet drink consumption and mortality."

                  There was a time in which researchers were very concerned about showing causation vs. correlation. Now just a suggested association is enough to put out a study.

                  1. I drink diet sodas because I'm fat and unhealthy. I'm not fat and unhealthy because I drink diet sodas.

                    29 Replies
                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      I love it!!! ;)

                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                        But Jacquilynne, can you be really sure of that?

                        By the way, if weight loss and long term health interests you, this BBC program is really compelling. I've been following this regimen since mid-January and I've lost 8 lbs., and I literally eat whatever I want for 5 days out of the week. Granted, I'm not eating industrial-sized bowls of pudding, but still. You get the point.

                        http://vimeo.com/54089463

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          I am really sure of that, yes, because I became fat and unhealthy quite some time before I started drinking diet soda. For many years I drank almost no soda at all, but I like caffeine and I do not like coffee, so I drink Coke Zero. This has proven measurably better for me than drinking regular Coke, which caused me to get much fatter and less healthy in very short order.

                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                            Jacquilynne,

                            I don't doubt what you're saying. I have a distinct before-and-after life with diet cola, and I can't really peg any weight gain or loss to consumption of diet colas themselves.

                            I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes right around the time that Nutrasweet hit the market in a major way (1986). To me, it felt like a godsend. So I drank it regularly-- unapologetically and unfailingly-- as a regular part of my diet, for many many years. Nutrasweetened colas tasted so much more like real cola than the bitter, saccharine-sweetened Tabs of the 1970s, that by comparison this was extraordinary to me. I was a kid, and it was a way to continue to pretend that my life wasn't about to change forever.

                            In the late 90s, things started to leak about possible health complications coming from long term use of artificial sweeteners, and one day in the early 2000s sometime, I started asking myself, "why am I drinking this?" "Why has this corporation convinced me that this is an appropriate drink to have with nearly every meal?" "Why don't I just drink water?" And eventually it just hit me, and I decided to drop soft drinks cold turkey. Today, I rarely drink any type of soft drink, and if I do, it's a full-sugared soda to treat hypoglycemia, or I take a sip of a friend's soda, but not enough to impact my blood sugar levels significantly. Ever so rarely, (and by this I mean maybe once a year), I get some kind of a Groupon or package meal which includes a soda, or maybe I'm having a big slice of pizza and a cola just seems like the perfect match, I get a diet cola of some kind.

                            As a kid with diabetes weaned on nutrasweetened diet coke, and then as an adult, I grew accustomed to the flavor. Now, as an only occasional drinker, the chemical flavor of the nutrasweet is extremely apparent... I could easily pick it our from a blind taste test (and I never used to really be able to-- or cared enough to-- distinguish the difference before.)

                            In some ways I feel like a recovered smoker who can suddenly begin smelling the tobacco in their house and on their clothes. When you remove yourself from whatever it is that you're used to, you can finally see/taste/smell what others do. And once I broke the diet cola chain, now when I think about Diet Coke, the first thing I think about is the weird chemical aftertaste of it.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              It's a matter of personal choice, ultimately. Articles like the one in the subject of this thread are irresponsible in that they attempt to associate a category of products to health issues. Then these articles are cited by others and before long you have a telephone game conclusion that "Nutrasweet will kill you."

                              You've decided to stop drinking diet sodas? Good for you. But that doesn't make it a bad choice for others.

                              1. re: ferret

                                You really don't see how the public is affected by peoples' high sugar and sodium diets? How we end up paying, in for the rise in diabetes and heart disease, which is inevitable from drinking chronic diet soda? Sorry, it is not just a decision that lies in a vacuum, completely unaffecting public health care.

                                1. re: globocity

                                  Sugar yes. Sodium, not at all. Sodium is just an innocent passenger on a lot of starchy snack foods.

                                  1. re: globocity

                                    "the rise in diabetes and heart disease, which is inevitable from drinking chronic diet soda?"

                                    That's nonsense. Bad choices may lead to disease, but diet soda consumption does not lead to diabetes and heart disease.

                          2. re: Jacquilynne

                            What about the evidence that both kinds of soda "set" your tastebuds to crave starch/sugar?

                            1. re: sandylc

                              There *isn't* any evidence, only hunches that *some* researchers *think* there *may* be an *association.* There is no hard data to support this hunch because no one has ever done a study to see if there is any data to support it.

                              FWIW, I have no desire for sweets, starches, sugars or other carbs and eat virtually none, yet drink sugar-free sodas and other drinks. (Funny how some on some threads proudly say they don't drink diet sodas, only Crystal Light and the like. It's the same stuff.)

                              Once again, let's all go back to Stats 101, and repeat after me: "Covariance does not imply correlation; Correlation does not imply causality."

                              1. re: acgold7

                                If you were to stop drinking sugar-free sodas, I wonder if you would desire other sweet-tasting food to replace them.

                                1. re: acgold7

                                  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22...

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    Here's the real issue.

                                    There's absolutely no danger in abstaining from diet sodas, but there may be a danger in ingesting the stuff.

                                    While the data on obesity and cardiac health is yet to be determined, I do know that my dentist advises against consumption of any type of soft drink, diet or not, because the phosphoric acid in many sodas can dissolve tooth enamel.

                                    So the real question we must all ask ourselves is whether the momentary pleasure of drinking diet colas is so great that it's worth taking on the potential health risks? The way I see it, it's absolutely unessential- a totally superfluous foodstuff with no real benefit.

                                    As such, I feel that there is merit in exercising the precautionary principle on these kinds of non-essential foods.

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precauti...

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      That would include so many different toods from caffeine to fried foods to red meat to salt to eggs. Where do you draw the line? Cut out all non-essential foods?

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        My take-away here from Mr. Taster is that there is little to no nutritive value in soft drinks, but the same cannot be said for foods like beef and eggs.

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          That's exactly it.

                                          Aside from water, one can live a full, (and possibly healthier) life by skipping non-nutritive foods.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            Yeah, but sometimes Cheetos taste so darn good. I can count on one hand the number of times I eat Cheetos in a year. I can't imagine that I'd be much healthier if I gave that up but I'm much happier w/ it. I'd probably be healthier if I gave up skiing, parkour and aerial silks but I'm not doing that either. It's about balancing love for life vs just living.

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              You clearly haven't met me at 3pm on a day when I haven't consumed any caffeine.

                                              I get that diet soda isn't the best thing I could possibly be putting in my body, but it's not the worst, either.

                                              1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                It only takes a few days to get off of caffeine. Or, a nice cup of green or black tea can supply your caffeine!

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  It doesn't even take that long (though I am sure this is different for every single person, so let's not generalize here).

                                                  I had to drink decaf for 2 weeks and didn't notice a difference. At all.

                                                  And here I thought I needed that stuff in the morning. Of course, I went back to regular b/c it just tastes better, but it doesn't seem to be necessary.

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    OT- a recommendation for decaf. Like you, I prefer the flavor of regular coffee, and don't feel I need caffeine to jump-start me. For some years now, I've had a stubborn arrhythmia so I avoid caffeine, which would make it worse. I am thrilled with the Trader Joe's medium roast decaf - beans, in a cardboard canister with orange plastic lid. It tastes almost like regular to me. Definitely better than any other instant or ground decaf I've had. I dislike dark roast, which tastes burn to me, so I wondered if medium roast would suit me, but it does. I've always preferred a stronger brew, e.g., I use two slightly-heaped coffee scoops of beans to make a 10oz mug.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      That's a good rec for those who need to cut out their caffeine.

                                                      Thankfully, I am not there (yet).

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        If you ever feel splurgey... Jim's Organic Together decaf is better than any coffee of any kind I've ever had, almost. It's a mixture of light and dark roasts. Jim's dark roasts never taste charred, it just has beautiful balance and fullness: http://www.jimsorganiccoffee.com/divi...

                                                    2. re: sandylc

                                                      My body begs to differ. I drink a lot of tea and no amount can equal the dose of caffeine I get from coffee in the morning that makes me functional. I attempted to go without for a few weeks and I was useless.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        If coffee is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          I was speaking only of withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches; not about whether or not a person needs caffeine to maneuver through life!

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Didn't have any of those.

                                                            Guess caffeine just doesn't affect me much one way or the other....

                                                  2. re: sandylc

                                                    Yeah, poor examples on my part. What about msg, cookies, chips and cakes?

                                          2. re: Jacquilynne

                                            Actually, it's not that simple; your body may have a hormonal reaction to the sensation of sweetness that leads to greater appetite. Metabolism begins with taste sensations.

                                            Both things are likely to be true, and it's probably a sub group only that experiences significant effects at all.

                                            I do agree that correlations and associations are stupidly equated to causation all the time
                                            http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cont...

                                          3. "I'll have a Big Mac, large fries, fried apple pie...and a diet soda." What's the mystery?

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: chowser

                                              That always cracks me up.

                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                It shouldn't, because you can't separate the unnecessary carbs from the food in that order, but you can easily avoid drinking another full meal's worth of sugar.

                                                People think they see an obvious irony here only if they don't actually bother to give it much thought.

                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                  Let's be honest. Few people ordering that are low-carbers. French fries? Big Mac with double bun? Fried apple crust? Most eat the whole thing. It's the reason the study is obvious, hence my statement--people who drink that much diet soda aren't healthy to begin with.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Most of the folks I know who drink diet soda are thin. It's ubiquitous. Thin and healthy aren't synonymous, either.

                                                  2. re: acgold7

                                                    I'll get the Big Mac meal with a Diet Coke. The reason? I think Diet Coke tastes better than regular Coke. It's (obviously) not for health reasons.

                                                2. re: chowser

                                                  Sugar in soda gives me instant indigestion. I'd probably order a diet Coke with that meal, too.

                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                    Are you okay w/ other forms of hfcs? That would also be in the buns and pie, probably the special sauce, too.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      It's in soda that I notice it particularly. Even 'Mexican' coke, the sugar kind, bothers me. Sweet tea does exactly the same thing to me.

                                                3. Well I consume at least 1 Diet soda a day and I am in good health and not even close to obese. So in short, whatever! These diet soda studies always drive me nuts, and then since they started publishing them I'm always encountering an over weight person who tells me (while sipping their regular soda) how diet soda is so much worse for me than regular. Like sure, whatever makes you feel better about drinking your regular soda.

                                                  On a semi-related note, this study was apparently presented this past weekend at the Amerucan College of Cardiology's Annual Meeting. They are one of our clients and I was at the meeting working. :)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: SaraAshley

                                                    Did you drink a diet soda while working this meeting? Or better yet, did they serve diet soda at this meeting? LOL How ironic would that have been?

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      I actually drank water the whole time just because I was working long hours. I'm almost certain they served diet soda, and I know the convention center sold diet soda. I saw plenty of people drinking diet soda while I was there, lol.

                                                  2. Everything seems to affect women more yet we live much longer than men. strange.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                      Woman are forced to take care of their health much earlier in their lives than men are. We are trained early to pay attention. By the time circumstances force men to pay attention, they are resistant and unused to making this a part of their lives.

                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                        Just bad reporting. Women comprise the majority of diet soda drinkers, so starting with that premise, the rest of the flawed report follows.

                                                      2. This kind of junk science is precisely why many people ignore all the contradictory reports about what is/isn't good for you.

                                                        Coffee will kill you. Coffee is healthy. Running is good for you. Running will kill you. HRT is good for you. No, it's very bad. Well, actually it's pretty good. A friend just posted something about the alleged correlation between root canal and illness. 90% of people with heart conditions have had root canals. Duh. They've also eaten ice cream. Ice cream will kill you.

                                                        Reporters aren't scientists. Their job is to find something that will get you to read their article or watch their show - the most controversial the better. And they take half-baked articles that some PR gal (like me) throws at them and then they water it down to the comprehension level of a 3rd grader.

                                                        Garbage and superstition.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                          Actually, the root canal thing is real. I have the loss of facial bones and decades long festering sinus and jaw infection leading to chronic bad health to show for it. Did my homework, despite all the quackery flourishing around this issue, it's a real one. My husband and I: 5 root canals, 4 different dentists, 5 infections, including two very seriously deep bone infections. His two were completely asymptomatic.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            Tooth issues and heart disease I totally get.

                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                              I don't have heart disease, thanks to my high fat diet. ;-)

                                                              I should have it, given the rest of my health history...

                                                              We had to have all our root canals lasered with side firing lasers and sealed; the only way to sterlize a root canal and prevent chronic infection.

                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                              I'm truly sorry to hear about the difficulties you and your husband have had.

                                                              My point was that it would be statistically significant if 90% of people who have root canals go on to have serious health problems. That is very different than that 90% of people who have heart conditions have at one time had a root canal.

                                                              I'm not a dentist nor am I usually a defender of root canals (no one's favorite procedure), but given that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can go to the heart and cause coronary problems, root canals (no one's favorite thing) can be a way to prevent heart disease by removing the diseased root.

                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                We have no idea how many are suffering undiagnosed as the connection is never made and even imaging missed a tumor, bone death and loss in my case. Many images, C-T, MRI with contrast, digital x rays...

                                                                It's not just the bacteria going to the heart that's at issue; chronic infections and inflammation promote a host of diseases due to the long term elevations of stress hormone, cortisol.

                                                                Root canals do not remove the bacteria nor the root nor stop the infection, just the pain. The infection remains and spreads within the bone as fluid travels from dead, infected root to bone and back via seepage. There are zillions of infected tubules lining the sides of infected roots that are not sterilized by conventional root canal.

                                                                Some people, like my husband, walk around for years with what turned out to be severe long term bone infection with an old root canal, and a fistula from a newer root canal without apparent illness due to superior immune function, but that doesn't mean problems aren't accruing over time due to the stress hormone elevations that always accompany infections.

                                                                Most folks don't associate increasing allergies, or arthralgia or fatigue, etc. with their root canal histories. My SIL has 6 teeth next to one another all root canaled and neither she nor her dentist realize that it's the same infection traveling to all those roots via the attached bone.

                                                            3. re: chicgail

                                                              Actually, the connection between dental issues and cardiac problems is pretty valid. Heck, even my vet talks about it. Even if it is some sort of scare tactic, the result is that people care for their teeth. Learned the hard way that that's a good thing!