Sugar Free Doesn’t Mean Problem Free…

I don’t think there’s any need to dispute the fact that soda and carbonated drinks can have adverse affects on the body. There are a whole bunch of reported and documented side effects, including cardiac issues, weight gain, insulin resistance, rotting one’s teeth and potentially becoming addicted due to the sugar content. Ooh, that sweet, sweet sugar…

So what about sugar-free or unsweetened soda and carbonated beverages? Without all the sugar, most of those issues should be, well… a non-issue, right? Perhaps, but given that your ingesting gulps of liquid containing gas, there are other issues at play that one needs to consider. Take this information with grain of salt, since this is where I make a point of indicating that I’m not a dietitian or medical practitioner.

The problem with consuming ANY carbonated beverage is that your gulping down carbon dioxide, which turns into a gas once it settles in your stomach. Not only will this have you belching like a drunken sailor, it can cause uncomfortable bloating and distending of the stomach. This can be a pain in the ass, especially if you’re about to go for a work out and you’re all puffy from sipping your tonic water with lemon. My compression shirts just don’t fit as well, damn it! But I digress…

According to an article posted by HealthLine, even though carbonated beverages won’t CAUSE irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it can certainly cause IBS flare-ups if the condition already exists. the article goes on to explain that even though your carbonated drink may be sugar-free, it may increase a hunger hormone called ghrelin, which could lead to increased eating due to feelings of hunger, leading to weight gain. For once, sugar is NOT the only culprit. Wow, who would have thought that a Type-1 Diabetic would be defending sugar…

The bottom line is that if you’re anything like me, finding a drink alternative that has no sugar/carbohydrates to worry about (besides water) can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you just want to kick back and enjoy something to drink during your down time without worrying about the effects it may have on your blood sugar levels. But even “sugar-free” drinks may have additives that can contain surprises, like sweeteners, additives and sodium, which can all have adverse effects on blood sugar and the body.

For me, the biggest pet peeve is the burping and bloating that comes with carbonated beverages. this definitely sucks, since I tend to start my mornings with an energy drink and those are carbonated to hell and back. I’ve cut down significantly on the amount of energy drinks I consume, but a recent incident while running cardio is what led to this post. I was on my way to the gym and was sipping on the remainder of an energy drink while on the way. That’s where I noticed the bloated feeling and belching that made the workout all the more difficult.

The best practice is to keep your eyes open and be sure to read through all the ingredients on anything you consume. That’s good advice, regardless of what the consumption may be, but don’t be fooled by a label that says “sugar-free.” You never know what may be hiding in those bubbles. ☯️

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

3 thoughts on “Sugar Free Doesn’t Mean Problem Free…”

  1. Preaching to the choir here. Now if we could only convince my diabetic spouse. There’s more harm caused by the artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks though. They can have almost all the same bad effects as sugar as well as a few unique ones.


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