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-   -   Diet soda, diet energy drinks, and zone bars... (

John Fox 04-11-2006 08:00 PM

Hey I'm new to the zone (about a week) and I was wondering what the adverse affects of sugar free products such as diet soda/energy drinks are, if any. I'm not really so concerned with long term health risks and I know supposively it causes cancer I'm more looking for wether or not it affects muscle growth, fat loss, or metabolism. stuff like that. Also are the zone bars a good 2 block snack if you're on the go even though they contain sugar?

Jason Billows 04-12-2006 07:32 AM


You should download and listen to the Crossfit Live episode on nutrition. It was one of the first few episodes I believe.

In it, Rob Wolfe talked about artificial sweeteners. As I recall, artificial sweeteners have similar effects on your body as sugar. While you don't necessarily have the calories, your body reacts in a similar way and can affect hormone levels which will ultimately have a negative effect on your fitness gains. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. :-)

Rob didn't go into detail, but I expect some of those reactions are due to compensatory changes. Think of compensatory changes this way... let's say that every morning you drink a cup of coffee. The caffine in the coffee raises your heart rate. Every day you drink this coffee and over time your body comes to anticipate the phsyological effect of your heart rate increase and associates it with the smell and taste. Now, one day someone switches your regular coffee for a decaf and you don't notice. When you drink it your heart rate will still rise despite the adsence of caffine. This is beacuse your body associates the taste and smell with the "usual" effect on your heart. It is called compensatory changes. Over time this effect would lessen more and more if you kept drinking decaf, but the effects can be quite strong initially.

Similarly, our body knows how it usually reacts to sugar which it associates to a sweet taste. Artificial sweeteners taste sweet and so our body reacts the same way, in part because of compensatory changes.

Regarding the Zone bars, they are not great. They have the proper ratio of protein/fat/carbs, but they're highly processed. Try to stick with whole foods as much as you can and only use the bars when you're really stuck for time and available food sources.

Charlie Jackson 04-12-2006 07:38 AM

[i]Artificial sweeteners taste sweet and so our body reacts the same way, in part because of compensatory changes. [/i]

If that were true, it wouldn't be possible to establish a glycemic index. People can't figure out a reason not to eat artificial sweetners so they make up stuff.

Greg Battaglia 04-12-2006 08:59 AM

I believe that artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause liver and kidney inflammation in test animals. The fact that artifiical sweeteners can't be found in significant quantities (if any quantity at all) in nature is enough evidence for me to avoid them like the plague.

Marc Moffett 04-12-2006 10:14 AM

As I recall from Cordain's newsletter, all of the artificial sweetners [i]except[/i] aspartame cause an insulin spike similar to sugar. [url=][/url] It is just a brief comment in the "Did you know?" section.

Garrett Smith 04-12-2006 11:20 AM

Artificial sweeteners are bad for the human system. Period. Believe the FDA (they've got quite a great track record, don't they) or the people who have actually experienced the side effects. I personally used to get brief migraine-like headaches from aspartame. I used to think it was one particular brand of supplements until I started noticing it more often--this was as a 16-year-old.

Charlie, I have an accusation (in step with yours) about people who *do* use artificial sweeteners--they tend to be people who want something for nothing. Artificial sweeteners, lowfat diet, and the elliptical trainer. Recipe for failure AND poor health.

I also notice that they are more likely than not overweight and (assuming that artificial sweeteners actually "work" like they're supposed to) heading in the wrong direction bodyfat-wise. Judging by results, artificial sweeteners DON'T WORK.

People will go to any means to justify satisfying their sweet tooth.

Tim Weaver 04-12-2006 01:42 PM

I wholly own and embrace my sweet tooth.

My motto is "Be the Lemon Cake"


Jeremy Jones 04-12-2006 02:52 PM

I sometimes add a half a packet of art. sweetener to my large coffee. Is that going to kill me?

What about the small amount of Splenda (TM) in my protein powder?

Garrett Smith 04-12-2006 05:23 PM

The issue is that no one really knows. People say they do, sure. What happens if you're one of the "sensitive" people like I was?

What if there's some "negative synergy" between Splenda and your other artificial sweetener? Who the heck studies that? I can assure you it's not Monsanto (now there's a company that puts people first :lame:).

We all take risks every day. Personally, I wouldn't want mine to be artificial sweeteners. I've found a great whey for those who do use it that is sweetened with a couple grams of fructose and stevia. People love it and I help them avoid the Splenda. It's called Power Whey Stack.

Mercola's site has links to lots of anti-Splenda group sites. Why in the world would people make this stuff up? I personally don't think they do, especially after my aspartame reactions.

I'd try to answer your question, but then I'd have to ask you my favorite unanswerable question--Could CF workouts kill [some random] person?

Jeff Dale 04-12-2006 07:29 PM


I'm new to Crossfit and slowly limiting my sugar,grain intake. I've gone from 220 to 190 since 12/05 by myself and I'm fine tuning my diet now and ramping up my fitness levels each week.

I've learned a lot reading all of your posts and others. Thank you for all the great info!

I can totaly relate to the headaches! I was allowing myself to drink Diet Mnt Dew at work, convincing myself it had no negative affects. But deep down I felt there had to be more than what showed up on the label for sugar and calories. I would get very painful temple headaches. I now proudly avoid it like the poison it is.

Thanks for all the great info, I'm sure I'll be posing questions soon!

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