People determined to lose weight often choose diet sodas as a step towards a healthier body.
Alas, they may be making a big mistake as the evidence is strong that among the many effects of diet soda is that often it promotes the very health conditions these folks are trying to prevent.
Consider heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure,diabetes, and weight gain. All of these and more have been tied to excess drinking of diet beverages. Of course underlying many of these health problems is too much fat, and following a healthy diet to lose weight is always a big reason people choose diet sodas.
Unfortunately, they may be surprised to learn that when they drink diet sodas, weight gain rather than weight loss, may be their experience.
If you're not familiar with this term it refers to a cluster of risk factors that increase your chances of having other serious health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. You need three of the following five risk factors to be diagnosed with this condition:
Obviously if you have metabolic syndrome you have some serious health problems, so it is significant that studies have found it to be connected to drinking diet sodas. For example, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston considered this question in context of a larger study of atherosclerosis.
In a 2009 study in the journal Diabetes Care they reported that compared to people who didn't drink diet soda, those who drank it every day experienced a 36% increase in their risk of two of the five factors (belly fat and high fasting blood glucose) for metabolic syndrome. Similarly diet soda drinkers experienced an increased type 2 diabetes risk of as much as 67% compared with non-drinkers.
While no one has proved a direct causal relationship, there is clearly reason to be concerned, particularly since other human and animal studies have linked weight gain and diabetes risk to diet soda consumption.
Heart Health Suffers with Daily Diet Drink Consumption
Many people consider diet sodas a health drink to assist them to lose weight, which itself offers other benefits such as protecting your heart. Of course much of the focus on heart health awareness comes back to correct diet.
Unfortunately, a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that drinking diet sodas actually increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. This means even if it did contribute to weight loss, which is a big if, it wouldn't mean much if you still had a heart attack or were paralyzed by a stroke.
The study followed 2500+ people in Manhattan for 10 years and controlled for critical factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, physical activity, diet, and even presence of metabolic syndrome. Nevertheless, they still found an independent association between daily diet soft drink consumption and risk for heart attack and stroke.
Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cravings for More Calories
One reason diet soda may be connected to weight gain may be in a breakdown of the body's signaling system. When your body tastes something sweet, it is designed to expect that calories will be forthcoming. When it is fed artificial sweeteners, the calories are missing and that may set up a craving for calories, sending you to the kitchen in search of something good to eat.
A recent animal study conducted by psychologists at Purdue University found some evidence in support of this theory. They fed yogurt and sugar to one group of rats and yogurt with saccharine to another. The rats who received saccharine ate many more calories causing them to gain weight and put on more body fat than did those in the sugar group.
If you are looking to improve your health and experience lower health care costs it seems like the best advice is to drink water.
Not only is water healthier, but you'll find it costs a lot less than diet soda which comes with steep hidden costs in the form of heart attacks, weight gain, diabetes and stroke.
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