Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Diet Pop Challenge!

A challenge to try every diet pop available in Microsoft's refrigerators. Furthermore, to attempt to go through a few full workdays, drinking no full-sugar pop.

A few reasons. Admittedly, on some gentle prodding from The Irishman, bringing up the many health benefits of avoiding high sugar intake.

First, the obvious one - sugar, without the matching exercise, is going to immediately translate into fat. While I'd like to gain some weight, I'd prefer it to be thick muscle mass that makes a fine lady swoon, and men cower in fear. I am not overweight, but I could lose 10lbs in fat without any serious detrimental effects on my health (and certainly don't want to gain any at all at my current point).

Second, diabetes. A few friends have pointed out that high sugar intake can lead to risk for type-II diabetes. I don't like drugs, having to see doctors, needles, or having to significantly curtail my diet. Diabetes could mean all of that.

Finally, my Mountain Dew tower just scares me. I'll take a picture soon.

Not Covered:
Home time, meals out. This is purely workday. My leisure time, I will have my sugar. I like my sugar, thank you! Also, no caffeine-reduced drinks. I know of no serious health issues around regular caffeine intake unless you take huge amounts (forming a moderate physical addiction), or do not keep hydrated (caffeine is a diuretic). I also like my caffeine.

I got to try a variety of sugar-free pop; as far as I know, the full selection available in my building. I drank everything that had a diet variety, including caffeine-free if there was no caffeinated version.
  • Diet Mountain Dew
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Diet Coke
  • Diet Coke Cherry
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Diet Mug Root Beer
  • Diet Sprite

I was going to review these, and comment on the overwhelming taste of aspartame and relative flavourlessness of each of them. But, having just had a second Diet Mountain Dew (after cycling all the pops, where Diet MD was also my first), I realize something. I've become desensitized to the taste of aspartame, in just three days! I hated my first can of Diet Mountain Dew. Loathed it even. But after a few days of drinking these sugar-free drinks, it doesn't bother me much at all.

Still, Diet Coke Cherry comes out on top for pleasantness. Also Diet Mug and Diet Sprite take a prize for being a bit truer to the taste of their sweetened counterparts, but they have no caffeine so are therefore not important to me.

I've done three full diet days, and a few mixed days (it's been a rough week). I'm at the point where it is something I can drink subconsciously as I work.

On a side note, on suggestion of The Irishman and Popple, I gave Coke Zero a try at home (they don't seem to have any at work). I must say, it was the the closest to something I found with any real flavor, and I found myself chugging at it pretty aggressively. It still lacks that distinct boldness that corn syrup provides to a decent pop, but definitely a good substitute if you're going to be drinking a lot.

Given conditioning, one can in a very short time become accustomed to diet pop, even growing to like it.

Given this revelation, am I likely to switch to diet full time? No. However, I am definitely going to find one kind I like enough to drink regularly (the Diet Coke Cherry, I think), and start replacing at least some of my workday's consumption with it. I'm also going to drink a bit of Coke Zero at home, but only for those long nights of Warcraft. Probably with alcohol.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A full switch to diet pop would make a much larger impact - a single can of sugar-pop can jack your insulin rating through the roof, and if you spend most of your time being sedentary (as ya do) that's where the risk of Diabetes and other problems crop up.

Still, transplanting some diet pop into the regimen is a good move, better than none at all, so I'm glad to see you found some you liked.

You will never posess abs of steel like mine 'till you drop it all together though :D

- The Irishman