Should You NEVER Drink Diet Soda?
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
Many sugary drinks may lead to weight gain, which would ruin your dreams for weight loss.
In fact, giving up sugary drinks may be the hardest part about losing weight.
Sure, everyone likes to enjoy sipping on a soda, but due to the high-sugar content (usually from added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) drinking even one soda per day can get you way off track.
However, most people who want to enjoy their soda and try to lose weight at the same time usually turn to no-calorie diet sodas.
You would think that this choice would be a no-brainer, since reading the label you see: zero calories and NO sugar.
But wouldn’t you like to know about the one MAIN ingredient in diet soda that may be making you FAT?
Let me explain…
Diet Soda and Your Health
Diet soda is a very attractive drink to dieters and to diabetics.
Due to the zero calories and no sugar added, you would think this would be smart move.
However, diet soda has been linked to a number of different health conditions including: headaches, nausea, metabolic syndrome, and yes, even obesity.
Studies have shown that drinking a can of diet soda, twice per day, may lead to increased weight gain, and leave you susceptible to becoming overweight or obese.
The reason: the artificial sweeteners, commonly found in diet soda, have been linked to an increase in sugary food cravings.
This could lead you to seek out higher calorie, nutrient-dense, unhealthy snacks to fill the sugary void.
In fact, a study showed that mice that were given an artificially sweetened meal showed increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity (fat mass) compared to mice that had a sugar-sweetened meal.
They also showed that the same mice given the artificially sweetened meal (which was high-fat and high-calorie) also showed diminished caloric compensation and blunted thermic response to sweet-tasting diets.
Their data suggests that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners may lead to increased body weight and obesity by interfering with fundamental homeostatic, physiological processes.
Simply stated, artificial sweeteners may promote extra weight gain and increased caloric demand due to the altering of your ability to distinguish between sweet tasting foods that may carry a higher calories and fat than healthier food options.
Diet soda intake has also been linked to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
One study by Nettleton et al. showed that daily diet soda intake was associated with a 36 percent greater risk for developing metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent greater risk for developing type 2 Diabetes.
The author’s suggested, without establishing cause, that daily diet soda intake was associated with significantly greater risk for developing both metabolic syndrome and type 2 Diabetes.
What Should You Drink Instead?
The best advice when you are trying to lose weight is to switch what you are drinking to water, green tea, or black coffee.
This will prevent exposure to artificial sweeteners which may alter your body’s ability to recognize high-calorie, sweetened foods which could lead to weight gain.
By switching to water or other beverages, you will be keeping yourself hydrated, plus boosting your metabolism and fat burning.
Bottom line: switch your intake of soda and diet soda to water to reduce calories and potentially boost fat burning.
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Nettleton J, Lutsey PL, Wang Y, Lima JA, Michos ED, Jacobs DR. Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Diabetes Care. 2009 Apr;32(4):688-694.
Davidson TL, Matin AA, Clark K, Swithers SE. Intake of high-intensity sweeteners alters the ability of sweet taste to signal calorie consequences: implications for the learned control of energy and body weight regulation. Q J Exp Psycholo. (Hove). 2011 Jul;64(7):1430-41.
Swithers ES, Davidson TL. A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Feb;122(1):161-73.
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