I will no longer feel guilty for my Diet Coke addiction

I came across some new information recently that makes me feel a little better about my addiction to Diet Coke…

I found this research as part of my never-ending search on the safety of drinking it, since I’ll probably never be strong enough to drop the stuff — see Diet Coke, Guilt, and the Taliban for a hilarious discussion on my (and other’s) thoughts on the matter.

It turns out that the European Food Safety Authority is now saying that “A 150-pound woman could drink twenty 12-ounce cans of diet soda a day without exceeding the safety threshold for the artificial sweetener.”

Story here: We’ve Got Good News for Diet Soda Drinkers.

Honestly, I trust the European Food Safety Authority more than I trust our own FDA. And, as the article points out, the safety of aspartame has also been OK’d by the the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

I also spent some time today re-reading what the Mayo Clinic says about aspartame, as well as what the the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness proclaims — yes, I know who all is involved in that organization…

At any rate, after probably two years of fretting about my Diet Coke addiction, I’ve decided I’m going to stop feeling so guilty or searching for an alternative. I have read probably 50 websites that go on and on about how dangerous it is for you, and I’m certainly not arguing that it’s good for you, but I’m no longer going to buy into the fears.

Just a couple hundred years ago, you could literally starve to death in this country. And I’m thinking back then, you probably didn’t fret if you lacked a balanced diet and had to eat potatoes every day.

And probably back then, you didn’t worry if your water had been purified a half-dozen times.

I’m not saying to be an ignorant oaf in this day and age, but I am saying that we’ve allowed anxiety and fear to completely dominate our lives. And I’m officially done with it. (At least until the next absurd facebook post comes up talking about how you can use coke to scrub off rust or something stupid… Nah, I’m done with that, too. Especially after reading this article…)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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 If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after finding himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

Diet Coke, Guilt, and the Taliban

A few weeks ago, I made what I thought was a pretty bland — but very honest — comment on facebook about my addiction to Diet Coke. My confession started a string of comments that I found funny, insightful, and full of innuendo. Here’s an edited version of the conversation, with names changed.

It started when I wrote:

I have a serious love/hate relationship with Diet Coke… I love her, but she controls me and I always feel bad for going back to her…

Pimp Daddy D: yeah, but she’s always there for you and she doesn’t care if you taste like another beverage.

Red Neck RandyDiet Coke say’s “You my fool!” 

Stan R. Mitchell: Actually, Red Neck Randy, she calls me something else, and I let her…

Stan R. Mitchell: I think my longest separation from her was maybe three months…

Stan R. Mitchell: She owns me…

Two-Guns TomHave you gotten the commemorative monkey-shaped bottle to carry on your back?

Stan R. Mitchell: No, I haven’t… Tw0Guns, is there something you need to tell me?

Jim Bob Bodeen: I went back for a taste the other day… Oh the shame.

Stan R. Mitchell:  Is there anyone who isn’t in love with her?

Jim Bob BodeenI’m not in love, she was just there in my time of need. My wife had brought her along on a trip.

Stan R. Mitchell: I thought once I ended my “bro-mance” with Coke it would be much better, but she’s much worse. Tells me she’s not bad for me and the marketing says “Zero calories, 99.999 % water….” Can that be bad for you? (Yes, I know it can… Please don’t make me feel worse…)

Stan R. Mitchell: I love her and won’t allow anyone to trash her…

Stan R. Mitchell:  Sure, Jim Bob Bodeen… You can try to pretend you’re not in love all that you want….

Jim Bob Bodeen: Be careful. Under that flashy exterior, she has a dark side.

Jim Bob Bodeen: It was my wife that pushed us together. She suggested… she insisted.

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah! My wife hates her. I sometimes look both ways before refilling my cup!

Jim Bob Bodeen: She and my wife have been hanging out long before I came along.

Stan R. Mitchell: Diet Coke may be the only thing I’ve ever mis-lead Danah about. Most guys lie about gun purchases, truck parts, and outings with friends (when they’re “working”)… I lie about how much Diet Coke I’ve had…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  For shame.

Jim Bob Bodeen: What does she expect when you are all alone with her working late to make a deadline. Things are bound to happen.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, that’s true. Great. Now you’ve got me justifying it. But I still shouldn’t be inhaling like half a two liter. And I shouldn’t have to get monk-like and try to take small sips and push the cup as far away as possible.

Stan R. Mitchell: I’m telling you, I have it bad…

Jim Bob Bodeen: Be strong.

Jim Bob Bodeen: How about this. Two individual sodas a day equals almost a thousand bucks a year.

Stan R. Mitchell: Nope. That makes it worse… Now I’m back to guilt mode…

Jake “Jackhammer” Jones: I too suffer from this addiction. I feel your pain!

Jim Bob Bodeen: My secret love comes from Columbia. She is dark in color and her bitter-sweet taste still lingers on my lips from our lunch break together.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, thankfully I’ve avoided the coffee addiction. What worries me is my replacement drink most of the time is tea, and I use the artificial sweetener with it, as well, so basically, I’m inhaling this fake sugar stuff pretty much the entire day…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  Mine is different. I can quit her anytime I want.

Jim Bob Bodeen: That stuff can’t be good for you.

Stan R. Mitchell: Yeah, I know… I’ve read about a billion articles on it… I even bought Mio to try to work on drinking water, but I’m not sure that it’s much different…

Jim Bob Bodeen: I learned a long time ago… Most people either die from what they eat, or from worrying about what they eat. Which way sounds more fun.

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah!

Stan R. Mitchell: Life was simpler when we carried big sticks and fought saber-tooth tigers…

Jim Bob Bodeen: Is it worth it to squeeze out 2 or three more years if I have to be miserable to do it?

Jim Bob Bodeen: Me like big stick with sharp point to kill mammoth.

Stan R. Mitchell: That’s a great question, and I’d imagine the answer is different now than it will be at the end!

Jim Bob Bodeen:  I suppose.

Stan R. Mitchell: We should introduce Diet Coke to the Taliban… They’d all have jobs and stress in no time…

Jim Bob Bodeen: funny

Steve “Goldtooth” Stevens :  Um, yeah. I decided to cut way back to just one a day (my morning beverage in lieu of coffee, which I don’t drink). Then, this summer, I thought: Hey, let’s just switch to Coke. Then we’ll quit pop altogether. Hmmm. I’m back to one Diet Coke per day (hopefully).

Jim Bob Bodeen: I got leery when I was told you could use diet soda in lieu of anti-freeze.

Jim Bob Bodeen: Whether it was true or not, I didn’t care.

Stan R. Mitchell: Holy crap. I hadn’t even heard that. I did hear you could use Coke to remove rust… Check that. Actually, that it worked better than most rust removers…

Jim Bob Bodeen:  It’ll shine up a penny too.

Delilah Martin, aka “Paris the Pole Dancer: My children suffer from the adverse side effects of her, I want to feel bad, but I just can’t shake her. My husband is OK with it.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: I have the same toxic relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper, Stan.

My Mom (no joke): Dad has scared me to death saying the artificial sweeteners are not good for you, but evidently it has not been proven long term. Doctors say “long term results” have not been proven. So what do you do? Any other ideas?

Jim Bob Bodeen: If we stop eating all together, we will never eat anything bad for us again. Otherwise, someone will always find something wrong with anything you eat.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: I say artificial sweeteners and coffee, too, must be very slow-acting poisons. I’ve been using both for decades. And, man, those biscuits and sausage gravy…

Stan R. Mitchell: This is great! We’ve come full circle and I’m no longer feeling bad about it or as worried as I was.

Stan R. Mitchell: Funny thing is that this always happens. I’ll spend some time researching or talking with someone about my addiction and in the end, I end up in the same place: I need to try to moderate it, but I just can’t give it up.

Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard: Stan, somebody said, and the source is highly debated, “All things in moderation.” I say, “Over-indulgence on occasion is unlikely to kill you.”

Stan R. Mitchell: Hah! Love that, Billy Bob “Big Beard” Leonard. And I’m going to use that in the future — both to make others feel better and as an excuse to enjoy life a bit more with fewer feelings of guilt!

*     *     *     *     *

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. I really appreciate everyone’s support of my books. Sold Out, the Marine Sniper/CIA thriller about Nick Woods, has gone as high as No. 46 in its genre. And Little Man, and the Dixon County War, a Western thriller that moves super fast, has gone as high as No. 34 in its genre.