Originally Posted by Locke
Your approach makes a lot of sense to me. Every time I have dieted in the past I have tried to cut everything that I determined to be unhealthy out of my diet. It was too much change at once. Each person only has so much willpower.
That's why I keep diet soda. I'm whole foods, low carb, calorie counting, and controlled for excess protein as well. Artificial sweeteners in my coffee or the occasional low carb treat (like sugar free homemade icecream or almond flour cake) keeps me sane and on plan. Having a diet coke in the afternoon with some nuts and chocolate scratches a mental and physiological itch, too, while keeping me on plan. We all have trade offs and having done this for years, with many more to go, I've learned that there's enough real, physiological food issues I deal with that being overly picky on minor points isn't worth the mental energy.
Now, if caffeine or artificial sweeteners caused me health issues? That's a different ball game. But they're remarkably dietarily benign and don't bother my body, nor has compelling research shown that I'm worse off with a can of diet coke than the demonstrable harm my body undergoes from excess starch or sugar, which my crappy metabolism can't handle without insulin spikes, inflammation, and a subsequent spike in cravings. But my solution isn't suitable for every body - we each have to figure out what our bodies need and what trade offs we can live with.