Diet or regular – habits for health

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Diet soda – is it better than regular soda?

We have a serious addiction to soda in the United States, and everything we see encourages it, whether in the media or in our stores or restaurants.

So many of my health conscious clients seek to reduce or get rid of soda in their lives.  Often times they turn to diet soda, or diet drinks thinking this is just as good as water because there is no sugar. Unfortunately, the jury is out for diet drinks, and the survey says your chance of stroke and dementia is 2x higher if you drink between 1-6 diet drinks a week (or more), than people who do not (according to the journal Stroke). There was no correlation for increased stroke or dementia for people who drank regular soda.

Regular soda, however, is the main source of excess sugar in the American diet, which leads to a greater risk in cardiovascular disease.  The more sugar, the more risk, according to a study by the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013, and as published in JAMA in April 2014.

So diet or regular?  Maybe neither.

Not that I want to take away your daily treats, or coping mechanisms.  Though maybe we can find some replacements that will actually make us feel better. Replacements that nurture us.

I see the soda/diet soda drive coming from a couple places: 1) habit and brand alliance, 2) a small time out from the normal routine, 3) a pick me up when we are feeling a little low.

1) is easy: try a naturally flavored sparkling water – find a new brand and a new friend. Maybe an herbal unsweetened tea, or hot water with lemon and a touch of honey.

2) is also easy: find a different break. Try a breathing exercise, a micro workout/stretch, walking outside, walking up and down the stairs, opening a window, taking a power nap or power meditation, hey – eat an apple.

3) is harder and takes a little more consciousness.  If we are feeling low, it could mean that we have been ignoring our body while we are paying attention to the task at hand. Are you giving yourself the basics for life: good sleep, lots of water, food every 3 hours with a little protein, fat, or fiber to maintain blood sugar?  If you are, and you are still feeling low, what would it take to ask of your body what it has to give?  Are you able to breathe, rest, move around to renew yourself? Do you let yourself make choices that serve you, or do your choices serve others at your expense more often?

Though I can make a case for why not to eat almost anything (and we have to be practical – right?), sugar and diet drinks are a clear risk for the biggest lifestyle diseases we have in America. What can you change in your daily habits to support a different option, and make those a 1-2x/month or less thing?  Regardless of what else you do, getting rid of a daily soda/diet drink habit will go a long way for your sustainable health.

Dr. Lisa Hastings
Systems Chiropractic
MultiSensory Functional Integration
Your Austin chiropractor for quality of life

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