14 January 2013

Sweet About Me

I don't think I explained the rules of my 7 Things in 7 Weeks until I'm 27 very well, so allow me to explain because even I was going to get confused about this.

  1. Create a master list of goals... aka Bucket List
  2. Choose 7 things you want to accomplish
  3. Focus on those 7 things, but if you manage to complete other goals from the Master List, hurray!
  4. Put 1 pound in the bank for every goal accomplished.
 While I've been drinking 8 glasses of water a day over the last two weeks, I can't actually count that as being "complete" until the end of the seven weeks. But I'd say this is a good start to it:

The subsequent goal that I've accomplished is kind of a controversial goal, Only drink diet pop or sugar reduced juice, which has shown up in lists of yesteryear.

When I first made the decision that I was going to finally lose weight at 19, I cut out all pop. I was drinking possibly 1 to 2 litres a day by then because it was cheap and easily accessible in my household. When I cut it out completely I dropped a couple of pounds in a month. Spurred on by my initial success I cut out juice as well and dropped some more weight.

By the following year my beverage consumption consisted of black tea, water, and wine. Since I could only drink two of those three choices during the day (I'll let you guess which two they were...), I began to crave those sweet, sugary, calcium robbing beverages again. But, I didn't want to have the extra calories so I opted for the "diet" versions containing sweeteners and thus, no calories (which I found hard to believe considering the long list of chemicals). To satisfy the occasional craving I thought this was perfect.

During Uni and through my nursing classes I learned that artificial sweeteners were and still are recommended for diabetics, particularly if they were brittle. Then more and more people started to catch on that if they wanted to lose weight, using sweeteners and sugar substitutes that measure like sugar was a great idea. A recent wave of news has cropped up on how bad sweeteners are.


A quick scan of the usual suspects, The Canadian Diabetes Association, MayoClinic, and Diabetes UK, don't mention what exactly is so wrong with sweeteners but have mentioned there is a RDI (recommended daily intake), with a dangerous level of sweeteners being 88 cans of pop consumed in one day.

That's a lot. I'd like to see someone set out a challenge involving 88 cans.

 What's scarier is linking to sweetener use to an increased risk of cancer and birth defects. While many websites I've come across keep mentioning a lack of proper long term studies on sweetener use, I'd like to mention that maybe somebody should get on that...

What's funny is that when I threw in "weight gain" next to "sweetener" Google gave me far, far more articles about that then about a possible link to cancer... The Daily Mail had two easy ones to find, then there was MedicineNet , Science Daily , BBC News , various health magazines, and so forth. I know obesity is a growing problem and it's important to tackle that (because of the multiple system effects), but it seems somewhat typical that people place more value on their weight than their overall health.

It's got me thinking again as to what exactly am I putting into my body? Since last year I started drinking coffee, two sugars and a lot of milk. Sugar naturally substituted with whatever sweetener we had at work. I drink about four cups of coffee a day and I'm deliberating either drinking far less coffee in general or learning to enjoy a cup of coffee with milk only.

 Clearly, less coffee is not an option.


  1. Less coffee is not an option at all - which is why I trained myself to drink it without anything in it.

    I do try to stay away from most sweetners, but I also want to avoid the calories. My solution, I keep cans of diet pop on hand and try to (usually successfully) limit myself to one or two a day. My jello snacks at lunch also contain a artificial sweetner, but at one day - it's a risk I'm willing to take.

    Of course there are sweetner options that are not artificial in origin and perhaps that might be an idea. Go natural with less calories, Stevia perhaps instead?

    1. It's silly that it would have to come down to cost: sugar is sweetener than an artificial sweetener, which is cheaper yet than the natural sweeteners. So I'll have to do as you do and just train myself, slowly, to do without the sweetness. I'm already down from 3 sweetener tabs to 2 in a cup. Ha!