Many years ago, before I made any serious attempt to lose weight, I opted to switch to sugar-free soft drinks and sodas because I didn’t like the sugary flavour of the normal ones, and didn’t particularly enjoy how drinking a glass of Coke left me with a furry coating on my teeth. I’ve stuck religiously to diet sodas ever since, but now it turns out that might well have been the worst thing I could do.
The news comes from two different studies presented in June at American Diabetes Association‘s Scientific Sessions in San Diego. The first study completed by the The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging covered 474 people over a period of 20 years, tracking their waist circumference. Some of the group were diet soda drinkers, the rest were not.
The results were adjusted for waist circumference, diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level, neighborhood of residence, age and smoking status at the beginning of each interval, as well as sex, ethnicity and years of education.
The results discovered that diet soda drinkers had a 70 percent increase in waist measurements! Diet soda drinkers who had more than two drinks a day experienced a 500 % increase!!!
The second study from Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., Gabriel Fernandes, Ph.D looked at mice and how the common calorie-free sweetener, aspartame, effected blood glucose and insulin levels in mice.
What they found was that sustained exposure to aspartame substantially increased the risk of the mice developing diabetes by throwing out the body’s normal glucose/insulin balance. Effectively, although the sweetener has no calories, it still has the same effect on the body as the food or drink would if it had sugar. Aspartame-laden diet sodas could well increase human incidence of diabetes as well.
While I’m not one to automatically jump when a story like this comes up, the 20 years of research does carry a lot of weight (no pun intended).
So the news for diet soda – at least in my household – is not good. And although this is purely my own anecdotal evidence, I did begin to put on weight steadily once I made that shift to sugar-free drinks. I might now just make the shift to water. It’s better for me in more ways than one.
Although I might still have my favourite soda from time to time 🙂