Diet Soda Not So Dietetic

Diet drinks.

(DGIwire) — If you believe that drinking diet soda will help you lose or keep weight off, you should think again.  When researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined patterns in adult diet beverage consumption, they found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages end up consuming more calories than obese or overweight adults who drink regular soda.

The researchers concluded that those drinking diet soda end up eating more total calories when compared to those who drink sugary beverages because they consume more calories from their solid food meals and snacks.

Consumption of diet soda is up from 3% in 1965 to 20% today. Other studies showing that artificial sweeteners may produce a greater activation of reward centers in our brain, disrupting our natural ability to monitor energy consumption and normal appetite control, provide a possible explanation why the consumption of diet drinks may result in increased overall food intake.

“If the sugar in soda or other sugary drinks is replaced by snacks or other foods high in sugar, there is simply no advantage to drinking diet beverages.  However, if diet beverages somehow result in the consumption of an even greater number of calories from solid foods, as this data seems to show, it becomes a more insidious problem,” according to Dian Griesel, Ph,D. , co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH 2011).

Whether artificial sweeteners actually cause weight gain is debatable.  It is curious though that obesity rates have risen rapidly during the same time period (1965-2014) as the use of artificial sweeteners has become more widespread.

“In general, the consumption of processed foods including diet soda, increased during this timeframe.  We are now eating and drinking many products that were not in our food supply 50-100 years ago.  It seems that we are all participating in a huge experiment which may not turn out well,” according to Dr. Griesel.  She sums up saying, “The safest approach is to build your diet around the same natural foods that have allowed the human race to survive and thrive over hundreds-of-thousands of years while avoiding the man-made additions that have only been around for a very short period of time.  These natural foods, even when commercially grown and raised, are still a better choice than any of the modern processed products.”

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