4/22/2009:

Although I never officially intended to have a New Year’s Resolution this year – it seems like one materialized by itself!

Fake sugar almost gone!

sweet-and-low-packet.jpgNot sure how many of you use artificial sweetener on a regular basis – but I was probably in the top 0.1% off hard-core users. Five or six Diet Cokes, and probably the same number of coffees (+2 Sweet & Low’s) per day.

After hearing crap from my friends about the “dangers” – such as the health risks – or even actual weight gain from using this fake sugar, I decided on January 6th to eliminate it from my diet.

Some interesting observations came as a result…

Did you notice any change?

The answer to that question would be: “Yes, no and not sure…”

The Good
a-good-cup-of-coffee-in-hoboken.jpgFirst of all, I proved to myself that I CAN live without the sweetener in my beverages. For the first three months of my new consumption regimen, I eliminated the artificial stuff altogether. Coffee black or with just skim, cut out the sodas entirely (although I craved them the first week or so), drank more water and natural fruit juice. I was able to satisfy my thirst just fine without the chemicals.

Most noticeable is that my appreciation for coffee quality and taste has changed dramatically. You don’t realize how much you recognize the flavor of the actual coffee brew itself when you don’t add any sweetener (sugar or otherwise). My days of being able to regularly consume a cup at any old corner convenience store are over. I need better brews to truly enjoy the drink. Places such as Sweet, Ganache, Dames, Empire and even Starbucks (whom I once swore off) are now in my rotation. Heck, I even recognized that the Malibu Diner makes a very decent (and strong) cup of coffee.

To be determined…
Do I feel any better because of the elimination of the phony powders? Not really. If anything, I believe that I was so addicted to the stuff that I might still be in withdrawal phase. It’s also quite possible that it negatively affected my mental capacity a bit because of the drastic change. Either that – on running Hoboken411 7x a week is just taking it’s toll (hint: vacation needed perhaps?)

What about the weight gain claim? Well – I think that report is a crock of crap. I think the extra 200-300 calories per day from juices or other natural beverage replacements have added a few pounds. From my experience, diet sodas (or just water) instead of juice will help you keep the weight off. Your results may vary.

The net-net

As of today, artificial sweetener still exists in my life, but to a much lesser extent.

I’ve gone back to using 1/2 packet of Sweet & Low in really bad coffee just to make it bearable, and “reward” myself with a diet coke on occasion. But the heavy usage has now stopped, and water is now the beverage of choice.

The best part of this “project” is that I’ve now become a true lover of a nice bold & strong “cup of Joe!” Never did I know I could become a bit of a picky coffee drinker. But I appreciate places that care about what they serve, and reward them with my repeat business.

What about you? How much artificial sweetener do you have in your diet?