Introduction: This is an exploration of whether cola and diet cola drinks contribute to the production of or the spread of cancer cells or other debilitating diseases.
Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer on January 7, 2010 and going through chemo from February 4, 2010 through July 1, 2010, I drank Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, or Diet Cola for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I dearly loved this drink and felt that it made my food taste better.
Through the years, I had read that drinking soft drinks would dehydrate your body and that they were generally not good for you. I had also read that some of the ingredients in diet drinks actually promoted obesity as opposed to weight loss.
I wanted to be healthy in a vague sort of way; however, my motivation and willpower were not strong. I am not a person who has ever smoked. Drugs and alcohol are also not a temptation for me. More than once, I had been heard to comment that drinking Diet Coke was my only chemical vice.
I knew that I was addicted to the caffeine in Diet Coke. I would get headaches if I let too many hours go by without consuming at least one glass. If I went too long without drinking a caffeinated drink, I would even develop flu-like symptoms.
More than once, I would try really hard to kick the habit and drink only water, juice, or milk. Once, I even managed to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks for two years. Then life got stressful, and I fell off the wagon once again, so to speak.
Once I discovered the large tumor in my left breast in late December of 2009, the doctor indicated that I should not drink any caffeinated drinks for 48 hours before getting the diagnostic mammogram on January 4, 2010. They stated that the ingredients in diet colas would make the breasts extra sensitive during the procedure. They hinted that diet colas could even cause breast lumps or cysts.
That was indeed a guilt-provoking thought. Could I have actually regularly consumed a product that might be responsible for the breast cancer in my body? I immediately started questioning doctors and doing research on the web. The answer was inconclusive. Research has been done on this topic; however, the answers are not yet proven one way or the other.
I put my guilt-feelings aside and resumed drinking my favorite beverage.
Then, I started chemo. For most people receiving chemotherapy, their taste buds get totally out-of-whack. Food you formerly liked, you might start disliking. Food you formerly disliked, you might start liking. More often than not, you can only partially taste the food you are eating or the drinks you are drinking. In some cases, even though you can fully smell the food, you cannot taste some foods at all.
One of the first items that I found to be absolutely distasteful was any kind of diet cola: Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, and the generic versions of diet cola. My former most favorite drink in the world became the one that I most could not stand. I gave away my large stockpile of this drink to friends who really enjoyed this drink as I could tell that it would be a long time, if ever, before I could learn to like this drink once again.
After completing eight rounds of chemo, I had a double mastectomy on August 11, 2010. This was followed by 35 daily sessions of radiation. Now that I am in remission and done with all treatments for breast cancer, I still do not like this drink. I am just as glad as I have always had the feeling that I was doing my body a disservice for consuming diet colas in such large quantities. Now, I am totally content to drink large amounts of water plus the occasional glass of juice or milk. Every now and then, I might indulge in a glass of Ginger Ale. But diet cola is no longer the slightest temptation for me at all. I am so very grateful for that.
Lately, as I research safe ways to be sixty pounds more slender than I am right now, partially for my preparation to have reconstruction surgery in the late fall of 2011, I have found some information about diet and regular colas that are rather disturbing.
Info gleaned from James Redfield book: The Secret of Shambhala © 1999
In brief, a character travels to Tibet in search of the eleventh insight. In order to reach the mystical regions of Shambhala, among several requirements, he must modify his diet.
While visiting a monastery, this man is granted an audience with the head monk, Lama Rigden. The lama talked of many things regarding food consumption.
The most striking statement he made was the following:
“… when our bodies drop in energy because of the kinds of foods we are eating, it makes us susceptible to disease. Here’s how it works. When we eat foods, they are metabolized and leave a waste or ash in our bodies. This ash is either acidic in nature or alkaline, depending on the food. It if it is alkaline, then it can be quickly extracted from our bodies with little energy. However, if these waste products are acid, they are very hard for the blood and lymph system to eliminate and they are stored in our organs and tissues as solids – low vibrational crystalline forms that create blocks or disruptions in the vibratory levels of our cells. The more such acid by-products are stored, the more generally acid these tissues become, and guess what? … A microbe of one type or another appears and senses all this acid and says, ‘Oh, this body is ready to be decomposed.’
“Do you get that? When any organism dies, its body quickly changes to a highly acid environment and is consumed by microbes very quickly. If we begin to resemble this very acid, or death state, then we begin to come under attack from microbes. All human diseases are the result of such an attack.”
Okay, this was getting at the heart of what I had been wondering about for the last few years. Could I have been purposely consuming a drink that was literally contributing to my eventually getting breast cancer?
On this topic, he concludes by stating, “The food we eat determines almost entirely which of these two conditions we are in. Generally, foods that leave acid wastes in our body are heavy, overcooked, over-processed, and sweet, such as meats, flours, pastries, alcohol, coffee, and the sweeter fruits. Alkaline foods are greener, fresher, and more alive, such as fresh vegetables and their juices, leafy greens, sprouts, and fruits like avocado, tomato, grapefruit, and lemons.”
I realize this book is a novel; however, I know the author does a lot of research and experimentation. I wondered how true these statements were since eleven years have passed since this book was published in 1999.
Should you wish to read this book for yourself, the ISBN number is 0-446-52308-9. Or you can visit the author’s website at http://www.celestinevision.com/.
What does the latest research state?
My next step was to research pH Balance on the web. Among other sources, I found the following information:
The Original Essense-of-Life
“Most carbonated soft drinks (sodas) have a pH of about 3, making them about ten thousand times more acidic than pure water (pH of about 7).”
Sodas and energy drinks are on their list of foods and drinks to be avoided due to “high pH therapy.”
A list of Acid / Alkaline Forming Foods
This source states “to neutralize a glass of cola with a pH of 2.5, it would take 32 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 10.”
Foods: are they Acid or Alkaline-forming?
When identifying the “culprits in an acid-forming diet,” they state, “the real culprits are highly sweetened foods, pastries, red meat, colas, and highly processed food.” They suggest that you either reduce the amount of these items you ingest or eliminate them altogether if “they also contain stimulants and undesirable chemical additives.” Obviously, diet colas do contain chemical additives such as aspartame.
I read other sources as well. In any case, I did not find one source that indicated that drinking diet colas in large quantities is healthy or wise.
On the positive side
On the positive side, snopes.com states the following about aspartame, one of the ingredients found in diet cola: “To date, FDA has not determined any consistent pattern of symptoms that can be attributed to the use of aspartame, nor is the agency aware of any recent studies that clearly show safety problems.”
Aspartame Scare found on Snopes.com
I may never know whether my years of drinking large quantities of diet cola contributed to or caused the breast cancer that was formerly housed in my body; in any case, I am so grateful that this drink is no longer a temptation for me. I certainly never want to do anything that would cause the cancer to re-appear in my body.
I would much rather make healthier choices when it comes to the majority of food I eat and the liquid I consume.
What do you think?What is your thinking? Do you feel that caffeinated drinks and cola drinks could contribute to the production of or the spread of cancer cells or other debilitating diseases? Also, do you feel that diet drinks contribute to weight gain as opposed to weight loss? I would love to hear your comments.