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Are Diet Drinks Better Than Regular Soda?

Summer is upon us with vengeance. The heat (and the humidity) is almost intolerable. That soft drink in the fridge by the checkout counter of any store is just the right thing to quench that miserable feeling. But do you choose the regular or diet soda? What’s the difference?

The following article by www.fooducate.com compares the contents of the Pepsi Next diet drink against its regular soda cousins. Warning – the truth may sting a little!

Summer is upon us with vengeance. The heat (and the humidity) is almost intolerable. That soft drink in the fridge by the checkout counter of any store is just the right thing to quench that miserable feeling. But do you choose the regular or diet soda? What’s the difference?

The following article by www.fooducate.com compares the contents of the Pepsi Next diet drink against its regular soda cousins. Warning – the truth may sting a little!

April 4th, 2012

Pepsi Next

 

When we joked about the big cola companies removing 30% of the sugar from their soft drinks as an April Fool’s prank, some people responded in all seriousness, having spotted such a cola from Pepsi out in the wild. And indeed, Pepsi Next boasts a 60% reduction in sugar!

Could it be that we are on the cusp of a soft drink revolution?

What you need to know:

Here is Pepsi Next’s ingredient list:

CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, NATURAL FLAVOR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, CAFFEINE, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASPARTAME, CITRIC ACID, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, SUCRALOSE.

Note that while sugar content has been reduced, it is still the second ingredient after water (in the form of high fructose corn syrup). There are still 4 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce can!

True, about 6 teaspoons worth were removed. But unfortunately, Pepsi Next has simply replaced the missing sugar with artificial sweeteners, same as those used in its diet drink. And not just one or two, but a thoroughly sickening triumvirate including aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.

Each of the three has its related health concerns, and artificial sweeteners in general mess with the body’s capability to deal with sweet. The dissociation between sweet taste and calorie intake may put the regulatory system that controls hunger and body weight out of sync, thus sabotaging weight loss plans. A study on rodents showed that those fed artificial sweeteners actually gained weight compared to rodents fed sucrose. For more, read Three Reasons to Rethink that Diet Coke You’re About to Drink.

Pepsi Next Ingredients

Here’s what the Fooducate grading and analysis for Pepsi Next looks like (web version):

Pepsi Next rated on Fooducate's web appPepsi Next rated on Fooducate’s web app

What to do at the supermarket:

Don’t look for health when it comes to soft drinks, whether fully loaded with sugar, artificially sweetened, or this hybrid Next product. Switch to soda water infused with some fruit juice, then work your way to regular water. If you can make it, you’ll save your family $500 a year by switching to tap water…

Pepsi Next claims to have 60 percent less sugar without sacrificing taste. The secret to keeping its sweet taste comes from the use of THREE artificial sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose.
Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.
Acesulfame potassium (Acesulfame-K) has been linked to kidney problems, and sucralose (Splenda) has been found to reduce the amount of beneficial microflora in your gut by 50 percent—in addition to being associated with many of the same adverse reactions as aspartame.
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite; increase carbohydrate cravings; stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

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5-Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer

You’ll probably never hear anyone tell you to drink less water. The amount of water in your body directly and deeply affects how many of your body’s functions work. If you are dehydrated, you just won’t be able to function very well, even if you are sedentary. Staying hydrated while you exercise and as you go from activity to activity during the day is crucial to your wellbeing.

The Dangers of Dehydration

Woman DrinkingWater not only carries nutrients throughout the body via the circulatory system, but it also performs other critical functions like removing bacteria and waste from the digestive system, hydrating the skin so it can sweat (and, therefore, help to reduce core temperature during exertion), reduce joint pain, elevate mood, reduce some types of headaches, increase performance, and decrease hunger.

If you’re feeling thirsty or your mouth is dry, you’re already a little dehydrated. Most people spend the day in a state of mild dehydration, which can lead to headaches, tiredness and fatigue, dizziness, and dry skin. Severe dehydration brings on mental confusion, extreme weakness, and even death.

Working out while being dehydrated forces your heart to pump harder than it needs to. In addition, your limbs will probably feel heavy and weak, and you might suffer from dizzy spells. Time to take a water break!

Stay Hydrated All Day—Not Just Before or After Exercise

The best way to stay hydrated while engaging in any type of exercise program is to drink enough water throughout the day. This will keep you on a more even keel and prevent the bloating and cramping that downing a lot of water right before or right after a vigorous workout can produce. Highly active people should be glugging three liters of water a day, even on days they don’t work out.

Five Strategies for All-Day HydrationFull length red waterbottle

  1. Avoid coffee, tea, and soda. Each of these drinks has a diuretic effect. Not only will you have to take more bathroom breaks when drinking these liquids, but you’ll then have to replace the fluids you’ve lost. If you replace the fluids with more coffee, tea, or soda, you’ll be perpetuating a vicious cycle.
  2. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. You won’t always be near a drinking fountain, so having water handy parches thirst immediately. In addition, constantly sipping on water keeps your bladder saturated, which actually reduces the number of bathroom breaks you’ll need to take. Picture your bladder as a sponge and imagine how water runs off a completely dry sponge before it begins being able to absorb the liquid. A saturated bladder will be able to hold onto more fluid for longer than a dry bladder can.
  3. Flavor your water. Flavoring water usually encourages people to drink more water more often. Avoid sugary flavorings and instead go for naturally flavored H2O by tossing lemon slices, cucumber slices, mint or basil leaves, or chopped fruit into your bottle or water pitcher.
  4. Eat more fiber. Fiber (both soluble and insoluble) is important for digestive health. It moves food through the intestines and helps to scrub out bad bacteria and maintain a healthy gut. Lack of fiber can lead to constipation, and constipation can lead to more pressure on your bladder, which leads to more frequent urination and quicker dehydration.
  5. Replace lost electrolytes during times of intense exercise or prolonged heavy sweating. Electrolytes are responsible for maintaining the right balance of fluids in your body. You lose electrolytes during periods of heavy exertion and sweating, and it doesn’t hurt to give your body a little boost with a quality electrolyte replenishing product after a vigorous workout. Electrolyte-replenishing drinks also contain lots of water, so you’re still working to stay hydrated.

Don’t try to hydrate only when you are exercising. Staying hydrated all day long is the key to optimal bodily function. You’ll feel better, stronger, and more awake if you focus on keeping yourself hydrated 24 hours a day.

Source: Nature’s Sunshine Products Educational Blogs

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