As a caregiver, you are charged with caring for your aging or ill loved one, but you also need to care for yourself. Self-care, unfortunately, is not something that comes easily to caregivers – there are just too many pressing tasks on their plates, many of them say. One way in which a caregiver can practice self-care is through their food and drink choices.
Before you pick up that diet soda, thinking that you’re saving calories and therefore drinking “healthier” you should be aware of a few myths that are pervasive. Yes you will be saving calories and sugar and you can still receive a sometimes much-needed caffeine boost, but the caloric savings from diet to non-diet sodas may not even the scale.
Studies have shown though that even with the ingestion of fewer calories and sugar, diet sodas may not be better for your overall health. Researchers from Boston University found that both types of sodas – sugar and diet – can “boost the risk of metabolic syndrome- a collection of risk factors that increase the risk of health problems including heart disease diabetes and stroke.”
This metabolic syndrome was shown to be close to 40% higher among individuals who drank one can of soda a day as compared to those who didn’t drink soda. The research didn’t show that an individual who drank soda would suffer this syndrome, but that there was a connection.
It’s also been shown that those who drink sodas with artificial sweeteners may eat more than those who don’t drink diet sodas. The reason could be that the artificial sweetener doesn’t allow your body to properly “assess” the calories you’ve ingested and may make you believe you are still hungry.
Making a change from diet sodas with artificial sweeteners to regular soda is a start in weaning oneself off of carbonated drinks. Giving up soda is also better for your teeth because the carbonation can lead to tooth decay. A healthier option would be to give up soda all together and drink water. Add a slice of lemon or cucumber or even a few squeezes of lime juice to the water to jazz up the flavor a bit.
Ask your family and those in your care to give up the soda as a show of solidarity and help the family all make healthier choices in beverages!