Diet Soda became the most popular choice of non-alcoholic drink across the world. And while it all sounds good in theory, since the drink has no calories what so ever, the reality is a little different. To begin with, we need to understand why diet soda doesn’t pack the same number of calories as traditional aerated drinks, even though it tastes just as great, if not better.
The secret is artificial sweeteners; diet sodas use sweeteners like Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Phenylalanine, Acedulfame Potassium and Cyclamates. These have bare minimum calories and sometimes none at all, but sadly, this one single advantage comes at a high price.
There is plenty of evidence that suggests these artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas are not good, and in fact, even harmful in the long run. Each has its own side effects and none of them are good in large quantities. The truth is, drinking unlimited quantities of diet soda increases risk factors for many serious diseases, and the primary reason responsible is the fact that people tend to believe they can consume unlimited quantities of these diet sodas since they have Zero calories.
So if you drink diet soda regularly and still wonder why you cannot seem to lose excess weight, here is a closer look at why these diet sodas don’t help you lose weight in any way, but actually make you gain weight in the long run!
Diet Soda and Gradual Weight Gain
But the truth is that diet sodas do just the opposite in the long run; they PROMOTE weight gain, and many international studies have proven this with research. A study done at University of Texas Health Science Centre, San Antonio reveals that they measured waist sizes of those drinking diet sodas regularly to be 70% more than those who had regular soda. This was a 10 year long study, and also revealed that for those who drank more than 2 diet sodas a day, the chances of an expanded waistline increased by a whopping 500%.
Another study done by Dr. Sharon Fowler revealed those who drank diet soda over 8 years tend to put on more weight. What these studies have in common is the fact that the harmful results of drinking diet soda day in and day out only starts to show after a few years.
So that is the trick – when you make the shift from regular aerated drinks to diet soda, you will start noticing a decline in your body weight. Happy with the results, you will make diet soda a part of your regular diet as you are now confident it doesn’t make you gain weight.
It’s only after a couple of years that you will start to notice the gradual increase in weight, especially around the waist. And chances are that you will probably not even realize that the culprit here is not slower metabolism that is a result of aging, but your beloved diet soda! Scientists believe that artificial sweeteners are to be blamed here. What is surprising is that all researches have the same result:
Those on diet colas and soft drinks will have 65% more chances of being overweight or 41% more chances of being obese within 7 to 8 years. And those on regular colas don’t show any such pattern.
Why Diet Soda Results in Weight Gain?
We now know that diet soda results in weight gain because these contain artificial sweeteners which are not good for our body. But what exactly happens inside the body for us to accumulate that extra fat?
Diet sodas increase risk of metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is nothing but a collection of symptoms, all related to our metabolic rate. It includes things like insulin resistance, reduced levels of HDL, increased blood pressure levels, and elevated levels of triglycerides in our blood and increased accumulation of fat around the waist.
An interesting theory suggested by researchers in UK states that diet soda results in increased sugar cravings
It’s a fact that when people eat too many sweets, their taste buds get duller and crave for more ‘sweeter’ sweets. This group of researchers found that people who drank as many as 2 cans of diet soda per day complained of an increase in their craving for sweets. Wondering why?
The fact is that artificial sweeteners are 200 to even 300 times sweetener than natural sugar, which means, the regular intake of very ‘sweet’ diet soda wrecks havoc on the perception of ‘sweet’ for most people.
Diet Sodas result in corrupted brain signals which cause weight gain
This is yet another interesting theory that sheds further light on the connection between diet sodas and weight gain. Some researchers claim that when we eat or drink something sweet, our body expects the calories in the food that fills up the tummy and takes care of the cravings.
However, in the case of diet sodas, you might get the ‘sweet fix’ but the body doesn’t achieve satiation, which makes the body desire some other high calorie food to take care of the cravings. In fact, scientists at Purdue University have tested this theory on rats, feeding one group yogurt and sugar while the other group was fed yogurt and saccharine. The result – rats on artificial sweeteners tend to eat more calories and gain more weight. Talk about being misled!
The Ugly Truth
The harmful effects of diet soda don’t end there. Diet Soda doesn’t just result in weight gain but can negate your overall health as well. It also has some serious health repercussion like increased risk to cardiovascular diseases and chances of even preterm deliveries, making Diet Soda even worse than regular soda sometimes.
This is the kind of weight that results in increased risk to Diabetes Type 2, strokes, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and other heart diseases. Hence, the word ‘Diet’ in these sodas is ill-advised and misleading, and they do not offer dieters a permanent way to lose weight.