I just read about two different studies that provide even more evidence that even small changes can have big impacts on your health.
In the first study, researchers found that substituting on serving each day of water, unsweetened tea or unsweetened coffee for a sugar sweetened beverage (such as soft drinks, sweetened tea/coffee, fruit drinks, etc) decreased overall risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of obesity. That means, even if you don’t lose weight, swapping your Coca-Cola for a glass of water can help prevent diabetes later on. Seems a good swap to me.
The second study looked at the effects of replacing sedentary time with light physical activity. Replacing two minutes per hour of sedentary time with light physical activity, such as walking, lowered the risk of dying. Think about it. If you got up from your desk every hour for just a couple minutes and went for a walk, you would improve your health. Seems fairly simple, doesn’t it?
Obviously, no single study is conclusive. But this adds to the mountain of evidence available that even small changes can improve your health, even if it doesn’t change your weight or appearance.
In the midst of moving, my husband sent me this article about artificial sweeteners, a topic loaded with confusion and mixed information. My brother-in-law and I debate consumption of artificial sweeteners occasionally. Last week at a girls night, I listened in pain while several diabetic women discussed how they don’t want cancer from artificial sweeteners and drink regular soda rather than diet.
Why is there so much confusion? Artificial sweeteners are relatively new ingredients in our diets. Humans have been eating grain, meats, fruits, vegetables, and many seasonings for hundreds of years. Artificial sweeteners have only been studied for the last 40 years or so, and new sweeteners are being developed all the time. It takes time to study the long-term effects of these items and to determine actual consumption rates. As the linked article points out, these ingredients were developed to replace sugar, but some people are consuming these in larger amounts than if they just were consuming sugar, adding to the confusion.
So should you consume artificial sweeteners? The best answer I can give is maybe. Here are the facts as I understand them. We do know that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and a host of medical problems. Current data suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners as a replacement for sugars in moderate amounts is safe.
Bottom line: I don’t suggest taking up drinking diet soda or consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners. But if you have the choice between diet and regular, I would choose diet. Either way, drinking lots of diet soda is a bad idea for many reasons, beyond the sweetener.
I hope that helps. Happy eating!
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!