In his most recent video, YouTuber Joel Wood admits to having something of an “addiction” to diet soda drinks such as Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Pepsi Max, sometimes drinking up to 2 liters a day. “I’ve always grown up drinking diet drinks, and I now prefer the taste,” he says. “I’m not drinking diet because I think it’s healthy, I’m drinking it because I enjoy it.”
However, while there is no sugar in these drinks, he isn’t happy with consuming such a high volume of artificial sweeteners, and so he resolves to quit drinking diet soda for a month. “Even if it doesn’t make me lose weight, what it should do is make my tastebuds less used to sweetness,” he says.
Joel almost immediately finds himself feeling lethargic without the caffeine, especially in the afternoons when he would usually drink diet soda, but comments that feeling more tired in the evenings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And while the cravings do arise from time to time, it is manageable.
“It’s tough when I’m really thirsty, and after a workout when I feel like my blood sugar is quite low, because my body then seems to crave the sweetest thing it can think of… but on the whole, I’m not missing it that much.”
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Upon doing some further research, Joel learns that it takes up to six weeks to fully feel the benefits of removing diet soda from your diet, so he extends the challenge, going for 109 days before finally allowing himself a Pepsi Max on Christmas Day. And in that relatively short time, he finds that the enjoyment he takes from what was previously one of his favorite things has considerably reduced, saying: “It’s not actually as good as I thought it’d be.”
The challenge also has an impact on Joel’s wider health and fitness goals, albeit in “a roundabout way.” As his taste buds have become less accustomed to the extreme taste of those sweeteners, he has found himself eating less chocolate and other sugary foods, meaning that he anticipates some fat loss results as he resets the clock and aims to last for all of 2021 without touching a diet soda.
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