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The Truth about Zero Calorie Drinks

Posted On Tuesday, 03 December 2013
The Truth about Zero Calorie Drinks
Nutritionists, doctors, and personal trainers are always on the news discussing why sodas are terrible for us to drink, especially diet ones. Some of those reasons include the fact that the sugar in soda can rot our teeth, the phosphorus can take calcium out of our bones, and the corn syrup in soft drinks is worse than sugar for our bodies.

After adopting a new, healthy lifestyle free of any drinks that are made with corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, it continues to be a challenge to find beverages that taste good but contain less calories to drink during the day. Sure, every once in a while I allow myself one "bad" drink, but after I drink it, I feel extremely guilty.

But, since experts say that soft drinks are not extremely harmful when consumed in moderation, I guess it is ok for me to consume one soda or soft drink every once in a while.

My search to find delicious as well as healthy drinks finally ended when I found ones that screamed "zero-calories" on their labels. One of my favorite drinks became Sparkling ICE, as well as other zero-calorie drinks that have a fizzy consistency but contain real fruit juice. Because of my embracing of a new healthy lifestyle, I have become much more aware of the calories as well as ingredients in everything that I eat.

Curious about the ingredients in the beverages that I chose to consume, I looked at the label only to find that they are not as healthy as they are claimed to be.

Many people do not understand that there are certain types of artificial sweeteners that are related to corn syrup. We have all heard from some experts that say corn syrup is not bad for you as well as some experts who say that corn syrup is the worst thing for your body. Personally, I am against corn syrup and think that it is one of the worst ingredients that we could put in our bodies. Moreover, in these zero-calorie drinks, there is an ingredient that is just as bad to put in our bodies as corn syrup.

Sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda), the main ingredient in most zero-calorie drinks, is an artificial sweetener. According to an article in the Huffington Post, sucralose adds sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories of regular carbohydrates. For this reason, many people use it as an alternative to sugar when baking or drinking certain beverages. Although the process to make sucralose starts with sucrose, also known as white table sugar, the final product is much different because of the chemicals used in the process.

Sucralose is made by substituting hydrogen-oxygen groups on the actual sugar molecule with chlorine atoms, ending in a zero-calorie sweetener. It is approximately 600 times sweeter than white table sugar. What's more, our bodies do not break down sucralose into calories for energy unlike when we consume regular sugar, making it very appealing and seemingly harmless to consume. Although our bodies do not break down sucralose as it does with normal white table sugar, it can be harmful and often unsatisfying.

Some experts and studies show that sucralose is not bad and that there is no harm done to the body when consuming it while others suggest that it can be as bad as consuming corn syrup. A study was done recently to show that sucralose can actually can mess with the insulin levels in the body. Although there is some scrutiny with this study as well as other studies done on sucralose, there have been many, many other studies that suggest that consuming sucralose has negative effects on the body.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis did a study in which they found that when participants consumed sucralose, or Splenda, then had a blood test done, the sucralose was associated with higher blood sugar peaks and higher insulin levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if consumed on a daily basis. It can also have nasty side effects that include migraines, gastrointestinal issues, and thymus issues in some people. Sucralose has been proven to affect insulin as well as blood sugar levels. It can also have an affect on weight loss by inhibiting the body.

While I thought that I had found drinks that I could finally consume on a daily basis, I was wrong. After doing some research, I realized that I labels can very easily lead me astray and that I need to be even more aware of the beverages and food I consume because there are many hidden ingredients that prove to be harmful. As previously stated, everything from sucralose to regular sugar may be fine to consume as long as it is done in moderation because it is extremely hard to completely stop consuming soft drinks as well as juices and other beverages that are said to be bad for the body.

We all should be more aware and learn to make informed decisions about what we are choosing to put in our bodies. Doing quick research about ingredients, like sucralose, that are harmful will help maintain a healthy lifestyle. We need to make sure that we check the ingredients and nutrition information on the items we want to eat or drink, and by doing this, we can all make ourselves a little healthier in the long run.

Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.


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