I have a confession to make. I’m a former Diet Coke head.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “diet coke head”, the Urban Dictionary defines it as “someone who can’t go one day (or one hour) without drinking a diet coke”. Yup, that was me.

My obsession with Diet Coke began when I was just a teenager. My older sister went away to college and returned with an addiction to aerobics and Diet Coke. I quickly followed suit.

In years past it wasn’t unusual for me to drink up to 2 litres of Diet Coke per day. Sure I was a little spazzy from all the caffeine, but in my mind, the calorie-free treat was worth it.

I gave up Diet Coke in January of 2009 after a transformational experience at a personal growth workshop in Las Vegas. I don’t know what happened to me during that trip, but when I returned home I had somehow been transformed from a normal person into a caffeine-free, tie-dyed, raw vegan yogi.

It’s been over 2 years since I gave up Diet Coke with no cravings whatsoever. But for whatever reason, a couple days ago I decided to crack open a bottle of the fizzy stuff to see what would happen.

The first mouthful offered pure euphoria. Mmmmm… caffeine and aspartame. Pure bliss.

But it wasn’t long after that first sip before I started feeling weird. Really weird.

A few minutes later I was in the midst of my yoga practice when I noticed that I was too dizzy to remain in a high lunge. Every time I tried to lift my hands off the floor, I would lose my balance and fall over. This was very strange considering I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

I stopped my practice and lay down on my bed with my two dogs. I felt nauseous and weak.

While I don’t know for sure the Diet Coke was the cause of my light-headedness, I won’t be drinking another one anytime soon. And I’ll NEVER go back to drinking it in the dangerous amounts I did prior to 2009.

With a little research, I discovered that aspartame (the main ingredient in Diet Coke) accounts for more than 75% of complaints reported to the FDA. The most common adverse reactions include headaches, dizziness, attention difficulties, loss of memory, and vision problems.

Not to mention that aspartame also effectively kills ants.

Even the US Navy and Air Force has published articles stating, “Several researchers have found aspartame can increase the frequency of seizures, or lower the stimulation necessary to induce them. This means a pilot who drinks diet sodas is more susceptible to flicker vertigo, or to flicker-induced epileptic activity. It also means that all pilots are potential victims of sudden memory loss, dizziness during instrument flight, and gradual loss of vision.”

But what about using Diet Coke to lose or maintain your weight? Surely the possible side effects are worth it if it means you will fit in your skinny jeans, right??

Diet Coke heads take note: Diet Coke may not be so “diet” after all. Many doctors point out that prior to the introduction of artificial sweetners, there was virtually no change in the number of Americans who were overweight (24%). However since that time, this number has more than doubled to 54%.

This begs the question, are artificial sweeteners really helping us control our weight? Or might the artificial chemicals instead be screwing around with our brain chemistry??

Is Diet Coke bad for you? That’s up to you to decide. But my advice is to ditch the Diet Coke and drink a smoothie instead. :)

~

PS – After I shared this post, my friend Adam sent me this awesome video explaining why diet soda can make you gain weight.

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