Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweet Thang

I have a confession to make: Although my diet has been pretty much free of sugar (aside from the fructose in berries, root vegetables, etc.), I've been getting blasts of sweetness from two very un-Paleo sources: Artificially sweetened gum and diet soda.

I'll pause while you recover from this earth-shattering news.

I chew gum only when I'm driving -- sometimes to help keep me awake and alert during my mind-numbing daily commute -- but I log a lot of miles, so I frequently go through Costco-sized boxes of the stuff. I'm sure the parking valets in my office building are revolted by the number of wadded-up gum wrappers scattered like so much confetti all over the interior of my car.

My Coke Zero intake, however, isn't limited to the car. I've stockpiled a few dozen cans of the stuff in my garage, ostensibly for "guests" who crave the sweet, sweet taste of aspartame. But even when no one else is around -- especially when no one else is around -- I'll pop open a can. And at work, the company cafeteria has Coke Zero in the soda dispenser, and it beckons me every time I pass by. I resist -- usually.

In my defense: In "The Paleo Diet," Loren Cordain -- the Yoda of caveman eats -- includes artificially-sweetened diet sodas in his list of "foods you can eat in moderation." And it's not like I guzzle the stuff.

  • Despite being "sugar free," products containing sugar alcohols like sorbitol, maltitol and xylitol can raise your blood sugar.
  • Adverse reactions to aspartame include everything from migraines and moodiness to cramps and diarrhea. (My wife, a drug dealer by trade who has a degree in nutrition and food science, puts it this way: "Some sugar substitutes are osmotic laxatives -- they can't be broken down and makes your gut hyperosmotic, which gives you the shits.")
Looks like I have some more weaning to do.

Sometimes, Paleo is no fun at all.

(Photos: bukowsky18mastermaq)