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Why is Diet Soda Unhealthy?

Question:  Will you tell “someone” why Diet soda is still unhealthy to consume in mass quanities even though it has no calories? – Amy

True, diet soda does not have any calories, and has not been proven to make people gain any weight (see blog post “Does Diet Soda Cause Weight Gain?”  from January 29th)  However, it does contain other components that may affect health in other ways.


First, many diet sodas contain caffeine.  Although caffeine is safe in small amounts, too much can lead to insomnia.  Diet soda also contains phosophoric acid, too much of which leaches calcium from your bones.  Women have a hard enough time getting and retaining enough calcium in their bones, so this warning pertains especially to ladies.  Phosphorus can also alter the pH balance in your body, making your blood more acidic.

Diet soda also contains sodium.  1 12-oz can only has about 50mg (we can have 1500mg in a day).  But, if you drink mass quantities of soda, this amount can add up fast.   Americans consume far too much sodium, which is a leading contributor to heart disease.

The other consideration would be the artificial sweetener used in diet soda.  This is usually aspartame, which has so far been proven to be safe in studies done on lab animals, but when it comes to long-term human research, we are all the guinea pigs!

I advise clients to limit soda intake to 1-2 cans per day.  Drink water most of the time, and for ladies especially, replace some of that soda with lowfat milk!

What Is Quinoa?

Question:  So i am hearing so much about this new ingredient ‘Quinoa’. What is it and how can i incorporate it into my diet in a healthy way? Also, is it high in calories and am i at risk of eating too many calories if i add it to everything??? (I speak from current experience…it is good on salads, cereal, as a side dish, eegads!)… -Shay

Quinoa is the hottest new supergrain!  Well actually, it’s a seed.  It comes in white, brown, red, and black varieties.  It contains high levels of protein along with fiber, calcium, and iron.  Quinoa is one of few plant sources of complete protein (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids), and therefore is a great way for anyone to fortify their diet with more healthy protein.  You are right that cooked quinoa can be eaten in a variety of ways; in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, or as a side dish with any meal.  You can season it as you would rice, or mix it in with other things.  And yes, it can even be added to desserts and cold or hot breakfast cereal.


If you simply added quinoa to the foods you normally eat without changing anything else, you would be adding additional calories to your daily intake.  But, if you replace other grains (especially refined grains such as white rice or white pasta) with quinoa, you won’t be adding additional calories, and instead will be replacing refined carbs with healthy carbs, fiber, and protein!  Quinoa is pretty similar to other carbohydrate exchanges, in that it contains about the same amount of calories and carbohydrate as rice, pasta, barley, or corn per half cup cooked.

What is your favorite way to use quinoa?

Calories in Beer


Question:  If I am at a bar and I drink Guinness vs. Bud Light, how much further do I have to walk to burn off the calories in Guinness than the calories in Bud Light?” - Paul

Guinness contains 170 calories per pint (a 16-oz glass), whereas Bud Light only has 146 calories per pint.  So, you would need to burn an extra 24 calories for every pint of Guinness you consumed instead of Bud Light.

If you walk at a 2.5mph pace, you will burn about 3.25 calories per minute.  So, you would need to walk 52 minutes to burn off the Guinness, and only 45 minutes to burn off the Bud Light.  The difference if 7 minutes of walking.

Remember to multiply that by the number of pints of Guinness you drink!!