It seems like every day we are hearing something new about diet soda being bad for our health. But why is diet soda bad for you? Some of the latest studies are even showing that consumers who drink diet soda actually GAIN more weight than consumers who drink regular soda! Not to mention all the buzz about aspartame, splenda, and the problems these natural and fake sugars are causing for our teeth.
Whats This Weight Gain Hype?
According to WebMD, after eight years of data from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, they found substantial evidence that drinking diet soft drinks was linked to obesity, and actually made the risk for obesity even HIGHER than that of people drinking regular soft drinks! They saw a 41% increased risk for being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person drinks a day!
Why does this happen?
The main culprit here is Aspartame, found in almost every diet soda. (except Diet Rite) This artificial sweetener makes the body crave more calories because it signals your brain to expect the calories, being sugars close cousin. When you are eating or drinking things without calories, your body continues to look for them and your brain received the message that you are not full. This can lead to increased hunger and food cravings.
Another problem aspartame causes has to do with our natural metabolic rates. Normally when we get ready to eat something, our metabolic rates increase. However, in a study on rats that had been trained to respond using saccharin (which broke the link between sweetness and calories) this did not happen quite the way it should have. compared to rats trained on glucose, these rats showed less of a rise in their core body temperate after eating a new, sweet-tasting, high-calorie treat. Researchers believe this response not only led to overeating, but made it harder for them to burn off the sweet-tasting calories.
What should we do?
The obvious answer would be to quit drinking diet and regular soda all together. But for most people, this is not something that can happen overnight. For all you diet soda drinkers out there, I would suggest switching back to regular soda for starters unless told otherwise by a health care professional. For those of you who can't give up the fake sweetness, try switching to Diet Rite or Coke sweetened with splenda. So far as I know, they are the only soda on the market that I know about that are aspartame free (although they are replaced with splenda brand sucralose).The next thing to work on would be drinking soda in smaller containers and less often. Small changes like ordering water with your meals at restaurants or buying smaller soda cans can lend some help to your health and your wallet!
*If you have any more information about aspartame or diet soda, or anything related to this article, please let me know, and I will post!