As you may have heard, Pepsi recently announced that it plans to stop using the artificial sweetener, aspartame, in its diet soda products. The public backlash to aspartame’s health hazards has been substantial enough to cause Pepsi to reformulate its beverages. That’s fantastic news for health proponents, and GREAT JOB to all of you who have been expressing either vocally or with your wallets that it is not acceptable for any company to produce a health threatening food or beverage.
This is absolutely a step in the right direction, but it’s not a perfect solution. While I don’t advocate soda of any kind as being “healthy,” regardless of whether it is diet, regular, or natural, removing a now known multipotential carcinogenic agent is definitely a good thing. But replacing it with sucralose (aka Splenda) – another artificial sweetener that has its own set of health threats – is not the solution.
You may not know this, but sucralose shares many of the same adverse effects with aspartame. As pointed out by Dr. Joe Mercola (www.mercola.com), research has indicated that sucralose has additional negative impact on the body, including reduction of beneficial gut bacteria by 50%.
This one really hits home for me. The gut is considered by some physicians and health researchers to be the body’s “second brain,” and it’s crucial that you maintain healthy function of this complicated mechanism. A healthy supply of friendly intestinal flora is crucial to a properly functioning digestive system, and to wipe out half of it so easily (a mere 12 weeks of Splenda accomplished this) is very scary. As someone who has suffered from IBS (and ultimately cured myself) can attest, intestinal trouble is debilitating and effects virtually every other aspect of your life.
So what do you do? My suggestion is to avoid soda altogether because it offers no health benefits, whether regular or diet, and has an adverse impact on the body (for lots of reasons) regardless of type or manufacturer. Replace your daily soda intake with fresh, clean water or tea (preferably green and/or herbal).
I know this will be a big jump for some people. If your soda habit is tough to kick, try cutting back instead of going cold turkey. Gradually reduce the amount of soda you drink daily, and you’ll find that when it’s gone from your diet, you won’t miss it at all. Also, switch to a “natural” soda, such as BlueSky, that utilizes fewer toxic ingredients. If you can find a soda sweetened with stevia, a safe herbal sweetener, that’s even better.
For the full story and research citations, please check out Dr. Mercola’s excellent article on the topic here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/14/artificial-sweeteners-diet-soda.aspx.