Desire to be thin is prevalent in modern-day society, thanks to the promoted belief, “the thinner the better”. And in effort to conform, many people have gotten in the habit of reaching for zero calorie diet drinks and low-calorie artificially sweetened foods to stay slim in this modern age of muffin tops and obesity-related diseases.
But women and men who reach for diet soda to stay slim need to put down the refreshment and step away before it’s to late. It’s doing incredible amounts of harm to their bodies, and according to science, isn’t even helping them lose weight or stay slim.
The popular weight loss beverage might have zero calories, but research continuously concludes that the drink is a weak weight loss tool. And a recent study has now linked diet soda with increased weight size.
Published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, the research examines the relationship between diet soda intake and waist circumference. What they found follows:
“In a striking dose-response relationship, increasing DSI was associated with escalating abdominal obesity, a potential pathway for cardiometabolic risk in this aging population.”
Researchers behind the study looked at findings from more than 700 white and Latino people, who were tracked for about an average of 9 years. What they found is that those who didn’t drink diet sodas experienced a 0.8 increase in waistlines, while those who drank diet sodas occasionally saw a 1.8 inch increase. Regular diet soda drinkers saw a 3+ inch increase in waistlines.
What is the cause behind their findings? A number of things demand consideration: one of which being that diet soda could actually cause one to eat more.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, overweight and obese adults who drank diet beverages took in more food calories on average than those who drank regular sodas:
“Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks,” stated lead study author Sara Bleich, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, in a press release.
But there are other factors at play..
“We’re being naive if we only look at the number of calories in the label. People may be sabotaging their own health if they use diet sodas to protect themselves from gaining weight,” said study author Sharon Fowler, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
While diet sodas don’t contain any calories (which are not a perfect factor for weight fluctuation, anyway), they do contain health-damaging artificial sweeteners that could be causing issues on multiple fronts. The artificial sweeteners such as aspartame added to diet soda make the drink questionable at best, and downright dangerous at worst.
The issue is that consumption of artificial sugar may lower immediate calorie intake, but when the tongue tastes sweetness and the body receives no calories from sugar, it gets confused. Just look below: This is what happens when one consumes soda of any kind:
In consequence, people drinking diet soda may eat more food at meals and may even subconsciously go scavenging between meals. Appropriately, two or more cans of diet soda consumption was associated with a 500 percent increase in waistlines, according to a study by the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Simply, these artificial sweeteners mess with your brain in numerous ways – to the extent of even causing you to consume more than you normally would. But guess what – the damage doesn’t end there.
Being very acidic, diet sodas and the artificial sweeteners may have a direct impact on things like gut microbes, which influence how we absorb nutrients.
Researchers at Purdue University reviewed a dozen studies all published within the last five years on the health risks of consuming diet soda. In Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism (pdf) they revealed their “shock” over their findings here.
“The negative impact of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages on weight and other health outcomes has been increasingly recognized; therefore, many people have turned to high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin as a way to reduce the risk of these consequences. However, accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
So in conclusion, diet soda is NOT healthy. Use it to clean your toilet or scrub rust off your bumper, but do not include it in your diet if you want to live vibrantly and stay trim.
Study author Sharon Fowler summarizes the findings, saying:
“Calorie free does not equal consequence free.”