I am a recovering coke addict...Diet Coke that is! I used to be a HUGE Diet Coke junkie. I would buy a 24-pack and it would be gone in 4 or 5 days. It all started back in jr. high when I started to become aware of calories, weight gain, cellulite....all of that good stuff. I thought diet drinks were an answer to prayer; you get your pop (as us northerners say, soda for the rest of you) and don't have to deposit anything into the 'calorie bank' that day. So after 13 years or so of this blissful relationship with my thigh-friendly beverage, why stop? (Well, I haven't completely stopped as of yet, but I reserve my Diet Coke splurge for eating out only.) It started a little over a year ago when I had terrible pain and swelling in my right knee. I ignored it for a while thinking it would go away, but after a couple months my knee was so swollen and some days I could hardly walk on it. I saw my family doctor, joint specialist, rheumatologist, physical therapist, and an ortho doctor. No one could figure out what was wrong. I was finally given a cortisone injection after 8 months of a swollen/painful knee and haven't had a problem since. This frustrating time led me to do my own research. I knew I drank a LOT of Diet Coke and used sugar substitutes in just about everything I could, so I started researching and was amazed at what I found! You can research all day about how terrible artificial sweeteners are for you. Here are a few pages if you feel like reading them: Sweet Poison, Aspartame Dangers, and Natural News.
I am obviously not a doctor or health professional in any way, and I'm not saying artificial sweetener caused my knee to swell for so long. But really, what good can man made chemicals be doing to our bodies? I decided that for the sake of my health I was going to stop buying sugar-free products, including my Diet Coke. I haven't purchased diet drinks at the store in about a year now. I do still get Diet Coke when we go out to eat, but that's not something we do more than a couple times per month, and moderation is key, right? So if you're like I was and downing diet drinks morning, noon, and night, then I encourage you to do some research of your own and maybe temporarily give it up to see if you notice any differences. Maybe you'll find a new addiction, like coffee; that's for another post, though :).