Diet Sodas Don’t Help You Lose Weight

Posted by in Health Matters

soft drinksWhen you’re trying to lose weight, you know that every calorie counts. You may practice portion control to cut a few more calories. If you were counting on diet soda to help, think again. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society warns of just the opposite effect.

Diet Soda and Your Waistline

Researchers found a direct link between the diet soda consumed by older adults and larger waistlines. The study involved 749 adults over the course of 9.4 years. What the researchers found was astounding. The waistlines of adults who drank diet soda almost tripled that of non-diet soda drinkers.

The findings are disturbing, given the fact that some health risks increase with age. Adding obesity to the mix certainly doesn’t translate into a healthy lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 20 percent of Americans consume diet soda on a daily basis, according to 2009-2010 figures. Consumption peaks in the 40 to 59 year interval.

Why Diet Soda Fails

Several physiological and psychological factors may be at play. A study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for example, found that adults who drink diet soda have a greater caloric intake. Researchers theorized that consumption of diet soda may trigger a greater activation of reward centers in the brain. In other words, it feels good.

Another thing to consider is the body’s response. Aspartame activates about 200 times more sweet receptors than sucrose. Your body relies on hormonal signals to judge satiety. Artificial sweeteners may send confusing signals to the brain, causing you to consume the calories that your taste receptors indicate that you’re getting.

The thing to remember is that our bodies function by feedback mechanisms involving glucose or blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not sugars, but trigger similar reactions. Your body ends up craving the calories feedback loops say you’ve eaten. These systems operate on a base level involving survival.

Do Yourself a Favor

If you’re trying to lose weight, you and your body’s responses are vulnerable. Consuming beverages that interfere with normal body signaling is not the answer. Do yourself one step better; go from one to zero calories and drink water. Chris DR
photo credit: Bacon Soda via photopin (license)