Iced Tea at Pangea Cafe in Owensboro, Kentucky… Spectacular
As I’ve confessed before, I deal with an addiction to diet sodas. Whether one goes by the name diet drink, diet soft drink, diet pop, or diet coke, I have a lot of trouble saying “No” when it asks me out. Diet Cokes and Diet Dr. Peppers are my weaknesses. If all diet sodas tasted like Diet Pepsi, I’d have absolutely no problem whatsoever.
I’ve gotten really, really good at ordering tea when I’m eating out – except for the times when I’m having something like a burger. Somehow, burgers BEG to be enjoyed with a soft drink as opposed to tea. Burger + Tea = I’m Not There Yet. I will say this, though, McDonald’s sweet tea can stand in for diet soft drinks any time at my table. GOOD STUFF.
Honestly, eating out is the only time I’m tempted by diet soft drinks. When I’m at home, the only things I want to drink are iced tea, hot green tea (with honey), Chai Tea Lattes, and coffee. I simply don’t bring my addictions home with me from the store – so they aren’t here to tempt me.
The more I read about the nasty side effects of diet soft drinks, the more inclined I am to skip them all the time – even with burgers. Read on and you may agree.
A new study that appeared in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, shows people who regularly drink diet sodas are 43 percent more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than people who don’t even touch diet soda. Interestingly enough, the study showed that people who drink regular soda don’t have these vascular issues. They, of course have the burden of MANY extra calories, however, and we all know the dangers of extra calories and extra weight. They DO lead to heart problems – as well as problems just about everywhere else.
As if diet soft drinks making you 43 percent more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack weren’t enough (and I personally think it is!), the following have also been associated with Diet Sodas:
- One study showed that diet soda drinkers who drank just two cans a day actually put on more weight than people who drank two cans of regular soda! And speaking as a former Diet Soda drinker, our group never stops at just two cans a day.
- Drinking diet soda daily significantly increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
- Drinking diet soda daily significantly increases your risk of diabetes.
- Yale researchers found that diet sodas trigger sugar craving and sugar dependence.
- Sweetness without calories (diet soda’s allure) leads to an increased appetite… defeating the whole purpose.
I’ve read that a lot of people with a diet soda addiction switch to seltzer water with lime or lemon – apparently you still get that bubbly little feeling.
Personally, I’ve found that my secret weapon is canned and bottled tea (Lipton, Steaz, Snapple, Tazo….). Grabbing one from the refrigerator as I head out the door is even more gratifying as grabbing a diet soft drink. They taste better and I know they aren’t destroying my health from the inside out.
If you’re trying to kick the soft drink or diet soft drink habit, let tea show you the way. The health benefits of tea and green tea are phenomenal. Who wouldn’t want to drink something that improves your health instead of something that compromises it? Try different varieties of tea – flavored and unflavored. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find that adding just a little honey (which is good for you, by the way) will float your sweet little boat.
Also, experiment with adding fruit to tea. I madly LOVE adding frozen peach slices to my glasses of iced tea (black or green). Frozen strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are also out of this world. You kind of feel like you’re getting an extra little treat. Think about it this way: Drinking black or green tea lessens your odds of getting many of the same diseases that drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks try to bring to your doorstep.
A few other tricks of the trade:
- Find what restaurants have the best iced tea and visit them like it’s your job. In Owensboro, for example, a few of the best places for outstanding iced tea are Ninki’s Japanese restaurant, Olive Garden, Panera Bread (I also LOVE their iced green tea) and Pangea Cafe.
- If you’re going to grab a sandwich through a drive thru, run by Starbucks first for an iced green tea, iced green tea lemonade, or iced passion tea.
- Keep Subway in mind for lunch. Their sandwiches and salads are healthy AND their tea is uncommonly good.
I’m not trying to invite diabetes, heart disease, or weight gain into my life, so this is me officially cutting diet soft drinks out of my life. I love life far too much to take unnecessary chances. Let’s put tea sales through the roof, fellow tea lovers!