One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Why Your Last Diet Failed You – Book Tour Part 3

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Here’s the last installment of the Why Your Last Diet Failed You Book Tour. It was so much fun having Charlie stop by and I appreciate his help in answering your wonderful questions. I hope you had as much fun as I have during his visit. Let’s answer the last question…

I watched your video today with the discussion about water instead of diet soda. How do you feel about water with an added diet flavor packet, like Crystal Light, for example? Is that any better than diet soda? My biggest complaint about water is that is has no flavor, which is vaguely unpleasant…
Cathy B


Dear Cathy,

Well, if it were completely up to me, I’d say, "Drink all the diet soda you want!" Diet soda is my one and only vice. (Everyone’s allowed just one, right?) I can think of worse things.

But let’s break it down. On the one hand, diet soda is 99% water. For that reason, I always drink 99% of the can and throw the rest out. Problem solved. But for those of you who do drink the entire can, what are the risks? First, there’s the artificial sweeteners. The jury’s still out on those, but I’m pretty sure, on the whole, we’re taking in way too much of that stuff. Then there’s the caffeine, most likely. Also sodium. Also acid. And last, but not least, the mysterious "natural flavors." (I can think of a lot of natural flavors I don’t want anywhere near my mouth.)

But your question was about flavor packets. Are they any better? Well, let’s just look at the list of ingredients:

  • Diet Coke: caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.
  • Crystal Light: citric acid, potassium and sodium citrate, aspartame, magnesium oxide, natural flavors, lemon juice solids, acesulfame potassium, artificial color, yellow 5 lake, BHA.

I’m no chemist, but those lists look essentially the same to me. Just buy caffeine-free Diet Coke and now the only difference is lemon solids and nose-tickling bubbles.

I’m afraid in this situation, I’m just going to have to recommend two cases of Açaí juice. I have several boxes in my trunk now … hang on a minute. Roni?


Charlie, you crack me up! And your "only" vice… Hmmmm I can list at least 3-4 of my own so I find that hard to believe. Aren’t you always talking about burgers? :~P Here’s my take on on anything to drink that’s NOT water.

It’s a treat.

Diet or not. Alcohol or not. Water, in my opinion, is the only drink we need. When I hear people complain that’s it flavorless or taste bad I just think of all the aquired coffee, beer and scotch drinkers of the world. Even smokers? I know smoking is’t the same as drinking but think about it. How many people really like these things the first time the try it? Whether it is peer pressure, society, image, whatever they take up the habit and then their tastes begin to change. They teach themselves to like it. I’m convinced the same thing can happen with water.


I like that! Getting people to start drinking water using peer pressure. "C’mon, Cathy, everybody’s doing it!"


Ha Ha Charlie… Seriously, you just need to start to drink it. You have to WANT to drink it.


Or WANT to fit in with the cool kids. Either way works for me.


Glad that works for you Charlie. lol Even though you may not like it at first. After a few weeks your tastes will begin to change and your body will start craving it. That’s what happened to me and now I don’t even blink when the waitress asks me what I want to drink. "Water" is all I ever say. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy other beverages but if I had to guess, I’d say at least 80% of what I drink is water. Just think of all the calories and money I’m saving!

So to answer your question, I don’t think Crystal Light is any better then diet soda. I do think there are a few lesser evils out there but when push comes to shove I’d like to see everyone take up a water habit. However, it’s a choice and I agree with Charlie.


You do?


Yes. As in I can think of worse things you could be doing to your body. If you want to drink diet soda, drink it, the world will not end and you won’t keel over an die. I just hope I can inspire you to give water a chance.


Try Roni’s Weigh. :) In the immortal words of John Lennon: All we are saying, is give water a chance.

Click here to read part 1

Click here to read part 2

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There are 11 comments so far.


    April 17, 2009

    I am a chemist, and I wouldn’t drink either of those. I had a “3 cases of Diet Mt. Dew a week” habit as an undergrad until I learned what the “artificial colors” really were. Now, I stick to unflavored water (commercially flavored water tends to be just as bad as soda… check the ingredients) with the very occasional Red Bull here and there. To break the habit, I just kept a bottle of water with me.


    April 17, 2009

    I used to drink a lot of diet soda, at least 2 or 3 cans a day. About a year ago, I stopped buying diet soda to drink at home/take with me. I only allowed myself a soda when I was eating out or when I ate at my in-laws – maybe once a week. At first, I really missed my soda. But now, I am so used to only drinking water that I don’t drink soda at all anymore. In fact, I don’t want to drink it anymore.

    To add some flavor to my water, I often add cucumber and/or lemon slices. It gives it some truly natural flavor.


    April 18, 2009

    Do you know what it a completely delicious diet soda alternative? Flavored seltzer water. I’ve used it to basically cut diet soda out. And you know what? I’ve seen a difference on the scale. Diet soda just is NOT good for you.

    I mainly drink Polar flavored seltzer. It literally has nothing in it–no sodium, sugar, anything. It’s just carbonated water. It’s such a good alternative, weening myself off diet soda has been a breeze!


    April 18, 2009

    What a great idea!! I used to drink those all the time!


    April 18, 2009

    To tag on to Andrea’s comment, cucumber slices and lemons are good for natural flavor. I also use strawberries, raspberries, oranges, mango, any fruit is delicious! It’s natural and not too sweet and it doesn’t take long to flavor the water. I just pop the fruit into a bottle of water.

    Also, I will make herbal tea with different flavors and then pour it over ice which is really easy to do at work for an alternative to water.


    April 19, 2009

    I’m with you, Roni…..I mostly drink water. And I never think twice either, at a restaurant….I just say “water” when asked what I want to drink….usually with lemon when I’m eating out. I’ve been doing this for 2 years now, and I truly love water.

    Jamie H

    April 23, 2009

    I am so trying to drink more water. It is good for you so why not. Not sure if I meationed this before on here or not but I LOVE cucumber water it is so good. Just slice a cucumber and add to a pitcher of water and stick it in the fridge. I can usually get the cucumbers to last a few days and just keep adding water to the pitcher. YUM

    oh..and i hate lemon in my water at restaurants..every since there was a problem with a restaurant here and lemons…NASTY…and I’ll leave it at that ;)


    April 23, 2009

    I’ve got to get this book! Just added the blog to my bloglines feed and it is awesome :)


    April 23, 2009

    Please pick me for a copy of Charlie’s book!


    April 24, 2009

    I would love to read the book also. But I don’t drink that much water because it makes me have to pee all the time. If I drink diet tea, I only pee half the time.

    KK @ Running Through Life

    April 27, 2009

    Water with lemon is the best!! I drink it all the time.