It’s now the fourth day since I stopped drinking fizzy drinks of any kind, and have drunk nothing but water. This has been the first time in my adult life that I’ve gone without some form of sugary or sweetenery fizzy drink for as much as a day. That sounds so terrible doesn’t it? How juvenile do I sound? I’ve never drunk tea, and have no more than one or two cups of coffee a year when business protocol demands it, so I’ve always lived on sweetened drinks. As a child and teenager it was usually fruit squashes, as an adult it’s been mainly fizzy stuff. Coke was the main culprit at first (which probably goes a long way to explaining why my teeth are so poor) as diet coke used to give me headaches, but over time I got used to diet coke. I rarely drink water, and that means that for my entire adult life, I’ve lived on sweetened drinks.
The impact of the sugary drinks is relatively clear – my teeth are poor and I’m fat. But what’s the impact of the sweetenery drinks? That’s harder to see, but I’m going to stick my neck out and have a guess. I’d suggest that there’s a great chance that the impact of the sweetenery drinks starts with damaging my teeth by mucking up the ph balance. I’d also suggest that there’s a strong chance that they’ve contributed to my weight problems too. I’m reading more and more suggestions that the body’s reaction to sweeteners is very similar to its reaction to sugar – cravings for carbohydrates can be triggered by both. There’s a whole load of scary stuff out there in internet land about just what the chemicals in artificial sweeteners can do to your body, though it’s difficult to know what to put your faith in.
It’s safe to say that I don’t believe that the artificial sweeteners do me any good (I’m still fat 🙂 ) and there’s a very good chance that they’re doing me significant amounts of harm.
So I’ve stopped them. And it hurts.
In the four days since I’ve stopped them, I’ve experienced severe stomach aches, an upset stomach, almost consistent headaches, flu-like shivers, sweats, nausea and what can only be described as very depressed moods. I’ve had major cravings to go and have something sweet and fizzy, with the very clear message that if I have the sweet and fizzy drink, then everything will be alright. That sounds very much like addiction to me.
On a positive note, all of the above had made me feel pretty rough, and it’s been really easy to not overeat, so I’m certainly going to lose a bit of weight while I’m feeling this poor. I hope these symptoms won’t last long, though a bit of web research suggests that I’m hitting up against both caffeine and sweetener withdrawal, which can cause problems for weeks or even months.
This really isn’t easy, but I think it’s important in two ways. First of all it’s a significant step towards me regaining control over my life, and secondly I think that I’m going to benefit from getting this stuff out of my life and my body.
I’m going to track what happens with this, and keep you posted.
My head hurts. My stomach hurts.
But I’m feeling proud.