I am a diet-soda junkie. Come lunch time I want to reach for my diet Pepsi – or two. I live with a family member with Type 1 diabetes and we don’t buy sugar sweetened beverages – we buy ones with artificial sweetener. But is it time to cut the habit ?
This morning I read about a new study linking consumption of artificial sweeteners and higher blood sugar levels which can lead to type 2 diabetes. This is not the first study of its type. Earlier this year Time featured an article on these sweeteners and diabetes. By themselves, each study has flaws but all together they paint a picture that these additives may be leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes. The mechanism behind these changes is not known. It has been proposed that perhaps the gut microbiome is changed, or that the drinks make people crave sweets, or that sugar metabolism is altered. Regardless of the mechanism I have become convinced that the change is real.
Despite the appeal of the fizzy sweetness I think I am going to cut the habit. Water and Polar seltzer for me at lunch.
A new study came out with damning information about fructose. Princeton researchers studied fructose consumption in mice. Fructose is used to sweeten regular soda and is in juice. They found small amounts of fructose, such as that found in fruit, is processed by the small intestine into glucose. Food is supposed to be absorbed and processed in the small intestine. But when excess fructose is consumed, such as by drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage, the excess fructose spills over and is sent to the microbiome in the large intestine and is transported to the liver by portal blood. Fructose processed by the liver and microbiome is linked to metabolic syndrome.
So really, the best thing to drink is good old water. Although polar seltzer as it is sugar free is not a bad option. So far the only downside to seltzer is the carbonation which is not good for teeth and is best consumed at meals and not sipped at all day long.