A study now shows that my hypothesis may be correct — that artificial sweeteners may cause diabetes. For years, my dad drank mass quantities of artificially-sweetened drinks, trying to be healthier. And he ended up with acute pancreatitis, and resultant insulin-dependent diabetes (which likely led to his colon cancer and too-early death). Thanks, chemical sweetener companies. You suck.
I used to drink Diet Coke. I drank it “just for the taste of it” because while bubbly soda is fun, high fructose corn syrup has always been gross. Then when Coke Zero came out I was a big fan (and don’t forget Cherry Coke Zero). Until I realized the painful stomach cramps I got when I drank it were NOT from the accompanying food I had eaten. Thank you and goodbye, delicious and terrible beverage.
Finally I got rid of all artificial sweeteners from my life! Good riddance! It has been so long since I had those things (years!) that I don’t think they would taste as good to me as they once did.
Here are some things to drink instead of artificially-sweetened poison:
- Um, WATER! Have you heard of this stuff? It’s really good for you. And here in the U.S.A. it comes out of the tap, fully drinkable, at at a teeny tiny fraction of the cost of canned or bottled drinks, with no wasteful packaging required! Genius!
- For the water-haters in the world (I have met some of you!), try adding lemon wedges, orange slices, sliced berries, sliced cucumbers, chopped mint, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Maybe even a splash of juice, if you really can’t enjoy water without it. NOTE: You may start to enjoy water if you force yourself into the habit of drinking it instead of sweet drinks.
- I do like water, but I also have a favorite water-mod — and, bonus, it’s good for urinary tract health! I add a splash of 100% pure pressed cranberry juice to a big glass of water. This stuff seems expensive, but only because it contains none of the sweet filler juices that you’ll find in your typical “cranberry juice cocktail” (like pear or grape juice). But actually, a container of this juice will last a while because you don’t need much of it. It’s extremely tart, so just a little bit of it adds a nice tangy cranberry essence to your water.
- Sparkling water! It has bubbles! Honestly, I don’t know if bubble-water is healthy or unhealthy. I’ve tried to research this, with no good conclusions. It’s probably not as healthy as plain flat water, but when I have indigestion (thanks to the baby-on-board), I pour a glass of sparkling water, and add a bit of pure pressed ginger juice to it. Relief.
- Flavored sparkling water. Increasingly, you can find sparking waters with natural flavoring added, but with no sweeteners of any kind. Yay! I like these sometimes for a special drink. La Croix makes canned version, and Whole Foods has a bottled version that I like. You may want to keep in mind that just because something is “naturally flavored” doesn’t mean it’s flavored with the thing in the title of the beverage. As just one example, some strawberry, raspberry, and vanilla flavoring comes from the anal glands of beavers. And the bottle doesn’t have to tell you that! Mmm! If that bothers you, stick with plain water and add your own flavorings.
- Tea! Glorious tea! Brewed iced tea is a big hit in my household. I like it iced and unsweetened. So refreshing! And it contains antioxidants, whatever those are! And you can make it yourself at home, and it’s cheap! Of course, if you’re like many southerners you may looooooove your sweet tea. If so, suddenly switching to unsweet tea may be a shock to your taste buds and make you think you could never-ever be an unsweet-tea drinker. Try gradually cutting down the amount of sweetener you use over time. Using this method, my husband has cut down the sweetness of his sweet tea by quite a bit. Also, experiment with different types of tea: good old black tea, green tea, white tea, herbal teas (if you want to avoid caffeine), and flavored teas (read the labels, because some contain artificial flavors, or sweeteners in the tea bags… pretty sneaky!). The brand also makes a difference. Some are more bitter than others. We like Red Rose in my house because of the taste, but also because I like the little clay sculptures that come with each box. 🙂
I think there must be many other options (feel free to comment with your favorite ones!), but at the moment I need to stop procrastinating and get to work cleaning my disgusting house. And I am thirsty. Time for a nice, refreshing, unsweetened beverage!