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Diet Sodas May Lead To Weight Gain, Heart Problems, Study Suggests

Diet Sodas May Lead To Weight Gain, Heart Problems, Study Suggests

The artificially sweetened drinks may be doing more harm than good, according to a recent study

Those who swear they are being healthy because they’re drinking a diet soda may be in for a rude awakening.

A study by Purdue University found that diet sodas may be linked to a number of health complications including diabetes, obesity and heart disease, just like regular soda, according to USA Today.

The study found that people who drank artificially sweetened beverages, like diet sodas, were more likely to gain weight than those who drank non-diet soda. It also found that those who drank diet soda had double the chance of developing metabolic syndrome, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, than those who did not, according to USA Today.

"Are diet sodas worse for you than regular sodas? I think that's the wrong question," Susie Swithers, a researcher who compiled the report by looking at different studies about diet soda consumption, told USA Today. "It's, 'What good are sodas for you in the first place?' "

Despite this research, consumption of diet soda has skyrocketed in recent years. The American Beverage Association told USA Today that they see the findings as an “opinion.”

"This is an opinion piece not a scientific study," the organization said in an emailed statement. "Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today. They are a safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe."

Research shows drinking soda and diet soda can be devastating to your health

Raleigh, N.C. &mdash Research shows that consuming too many sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks can lead to serious health issues over time, doing more harm than just adding weight.

For many people, soft drinks are a daily habit. But a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association unveiled concerning data on almost 500,000 people averaging 50 years of age.

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Mark Hyman commented on the study.

"There was an increased risk of death from all causes -- and from heart disease -- in people who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages and sodas and, not surprisingly, artificial sweeteners," Hyman said.

Results showed that people who drink two or more soft drinks per day -- both containing sugar or artificially sweetened -- were at increased risk of death from circulatory or digestive disease.

Other studies show that artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health risks.

According to Hyman, it's important to understand that diet soda doesn't give you a free pass to drink as much as you want.

"The diet drinks have artificial sweeteners in them that actually affect your brain chemistry," Hyman said. "They make you hungry, they slow your metabolism and affect your gut micro biome in ways that are not good."

Health experts say enjoying soda in moderation and drinking more water are the healthiest alternatives.

If you crave the carbonation or flavor, Hyman suggests looking for sparkling water or adding small amounts of fresh fruit to a glass of water.

Diet Soda and Body Weight

Sugar-sweetened beverages fuel the obesity epidemic. Researchers blame them for the rising rates for type II diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and metabolic disorders. Under these circumstances, it makes sense to switch to diet soda.

Sugar sweetened beverages are blamed for the rise in obesity & type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, this beverage isn’t any better than soft drinks.

Diet soda has been shown to increase abdominal fat mass. Furthermore, drinking three sodas per day may double your risk of becoming overweight or obese in the long run. Several theories exist.

Drinking 3 or more diet sodas per day can increase the risk of obesity in the long run.

Artificially-sweetened beverages may increase insulin production, affecting glucose metabolism. Over time, the fluctuations in insulin levels can put you at risk for diabetes, abdominal obesity, hypertension, and heart disease.

Sugar Addiction

On top of that, diet soda tastes good. The more you drink, the more you crave it. This beverage fuels your addiction to sugar, making it harder to eat clean. Plus, you may think of it as a free pass to eat more.

Artificial sweeteners in beverages fuel the addiction to sugar.

According to a 2012 study featured in Psychology & Behavior, sugar-free beverages alter the processing of sweet taste in the brain.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that drinking diet soda leads to weight gain. It’s your overall diet that matters most (here’s how to calculate your macros for fat loss or hypertrophy).

  • In a clinical trial, overweight and obese subjects who replaced soft drinks with non-caloric beverages lost 2 to 2.5% of their body weight.
  • In another study, dieters who drank 24 ounces of sugar-free beverages daily for 12 months lost approximately 13.7 pounds. Surprisingly, those who consumed water dropped only 5.5 pounds.

We’re not saying that diet soda is better than water. Most studies supporting the health benefits of diet coke and other sugar-free beverages are funded by the soft drink industry. Therefore, it’s hard to determine their validity.

Overweight Folks and Diet Soda

Several studies conducted over the years show that consumers of diet soda tend to be overweight. For example, a 2012 review published by the Obesity Society has found that body mass index was 47% higher in subjects consuming sugar-free drinks compared to those who didn’t.

There’s a believed indirect relationship between diet soda & obesity.

Researchers believe that there may be an indirect relationship between artificially sweetened beverages and weight gain.

Sugary foods induce a sense of satiety and satisfaction. Cutting back on sugar causes people to eat more protein and fat, which in turn, may increase body weight and fat mass.

Artificial sweeteners may change food preferences & increase appetite.

Additionally, artificial sweeteners are up to 13,000 sweeter than sugar, which may change your food preferences and increase appetite. According to the above review, some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of non-caloric sweeteners and may experience intense cravings and hunger pangs because of it.

A new study published this year examined the link between low‐calorie sweetened beverages and calorie intake children. Its findings are quite surprising.

Children and teenagers who drank diet soda didn’t consume fewer sugars or calories throughout the day. On the contrary — they took in about 200 more calories than those drinking water.

In general, people with a poor overall diet are more likely to drink diet soda to offset the calories consumed from junk food and sugary treats.

People with a poor overall diet are more likely to drink diet soda to offset their calories.

Let’s say you order a pizza and two cheeseburgers along with diet coke. That beverage is unlikely to make any difference, considering the number of calories you’re taking in from food.

Other Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

Diet sodas haven't only been linked to metabolic disorders. According to a number of studies, including a meta-analysis in the July 2017 ​Canadian Medical Association Journal​, artificial sweeteners have been linked to an increased risk of weight gain, heart disease and stroke.

Artificial sweeteners and low-calorie sweeteners (such as stevia) can also change people's perception of the natural taste of food. Because they're significantly sweeter than regular sugar, people who consume a lot of these sweeteners may find that foods containing natural sugars taste less sweet — and ultimately less palatable. Research shows that this could ultimately create a dislike for healthy foods, including filling, fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

If naturally sweet foods lose their appeal, it's more likely a person will turn to unhealthier options like candies and desserts to satisfy their sugar cravings. Over time, these food choices can lead to weight gain, which diabetes statistics show is a risk factor for developing the condition.

Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

Further than that, there various studies linking diet soda consumption to all kinds of health troubles.

According to a 2009 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, drinking diet soda every day is associated with a 67% higher risk of type 2 diabetes and a 36% higher risk of metabolic syndrome compared to non-diet soda drinkers.

Actually, the artificial sweeteners could tamper with the brain-gut connection. This can lead to brain trickery which leads to “metabolic derangements”. Moreover, another animal research showed that drinking diet soda may also lead to glucose intolerance.

Consuming more than 4 cans per day of soda is associated with a 30% higher risk of depression. On the other side, drinking 4 cups of coffee per day seemed to have protective effects, reducing the risk of depression by 10%. The risk seemed to be greater for people who consumed diet soda compared to regular soda.

Harvard scientists found long-term diet soda consumption causes a 30% greater decline in kidney function. The research looked at individuals who regularly drank diet soda more than twenty years.

Consuming soda, as well as diet soda, increases the risk of developing COPD symptoms and asthma. The more soda an individual drink, the greater the risk. (That is known as a “dose-response relationship.”)

As an Australian study showed, 13.3% of surveyed contributors with asthma and 15.6% of those with COPD consumed up to 2 cups of soda every day.

A common artificial sweetener in diet soda, called aspartame, appears to chip away at the antioxidant defense system of the brain. The outcomes of an animal research found long-term intake of aspartame leads to an imbalance in the pro-oxidant/antioxidant status in the brain, mostly through the mechanism along with the glutathione-dependent system.

Aspartame is also associated to:

  • Hearing loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Short term memory loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Fatigue
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain tumors
  • Birth defects
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Lymphoma
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ADHD
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Arthritis (along with rheumatoid)
  1. Cardiovascular Disease

According to a research conducted by the University of Miami and Columbia University, people who were drinking diet soda daily were more prone to suffer a heart attack or stroke. They were also more prone to die from cardiovascular disease. This upsurge risk remained even when scientists adjusted for high cholesterol, sodium intake, weight, exercise, smoking and other factors that might have contributed to the difference.

So, is diet soda bad for you? The answer is definitely yes. Diet soda isn’t a healthier replacement for regular sugar-sweetened soda. Furthermore, it doesn’t promote weight loss, counter to popular belief.

This soda is associated with weight gain, heart disease, metabolic damage and other health issues.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.

No extra calories? ( Score: 4, Insightful)

Re:no extra calories? ( Score: 5, Interesting)

The parent shouldn't be marked as a troll. Studies have shown that your body reacts to these sweeteners as if they were sugar. Meaning your body will release insulin in anticipation of the food spiking your blood sugar. However that spike never happens so excess insulin ends up causing low blood sugar levels and that signals you to eat more. So yes, using artificial sweeteners will cause you to eat more calories even though they don't have any.

Re: ( Score: 2, Insightful)

Studies have shown that your body reacts to these sweeteners as if they were sugar. Meaning your body will release insulin in anticipation of the food spiking your blood sugar.

Obviously not true. That's so easily measured that it's ridiculous that it would even be a discussion. How long would it take to prove? A day? An hour?

Re: ( Score: 2)

your body will release insulin in anticipation of the food spiking your blood sugar.

That would take exactly one twenty-minute experiment to prove true/false.

Where's the citations? Anyone.

Re:no extra calories? ( Score: 5, Informative)

Not a 100% confirmed thing by any means, but here are the citations you were after
https://www.scientificamerican. [] []

Re:no extra calories? ( Score: 5, Interesting)

your body will release insulin in anticipation of the food spiking your blood sugar.

That would take exactly one twenty-minute experiment to prove true/false.

Where's the citations? Anyone.

Sort of. I participated in a class once that did something along these lines as a demonstration of insulin reaction (indirectly, using blood sugar as a metric) to selected foods. Several guinea pig class members, I was one, used a glucometer and recorded serum glucose levels then we ate a bit of three different foods. One guy ate 1/2 a Snickers candy bar, one of ate a plain rice cake and I ate some ham. We waited a bit, took another blood sugar sample. Waited a bit more and took a final blood sugar test. Then we reported on how we felt

The ham guy, me, had almost no change. The Snickers guy saw his blood sugar rise then drop below baseline, got some energy then crashed a little. The greatest reaction, by far, was the plain rice cake. That person had the greatest rise in blood sugar followed by a greater drop and actually got a little shaky.

The point of the experiment was to show some misconceptions. Everyone thought the rice cake was healthy and the candy bar and fatty ham was unhealthy.

Wrong, at least from an insulin flooding standpoint. The rice cake is pure sugar. Starch is just glucose chained together. It turns out that the candy bar, poor nutritionally as it was, had a milder effect because of the fat it contains. Fat seems to blunt the insulin response. Doesn't make the sugar any less, but moderates the insulin reaction. The rice cake hadn't that moderator so it produced the most dramatic reaction.

That's why restaurants like to start you off with bread while you're perusing the menu. It ain't just being hospitable. They want your blood sugar to be plummeting when you order.

10 Foods To Break Up With Now

Breaking up is hard to do..but saying goodbye to love handles is easy once you have the low-down. There are certain foods and drinks that need a swift kick to the curb to make your health and weight loss a realistic part of your life.

Here are the 10 foods to break up with now:

The average American drinks 56 gallons of soda a year. This statistic is staggering along with the detrimental health effects (such as weight gain, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, low-level inflammation) from drinking soda. There is a reason it is referred to as ‘liquid sugar’ Each soda contains an average of 10 teaspoons of sugar and it is cane sugar or the more commonly used soda sugar high-fructose corn syrup that is responsible for the poor health and weight gain. Sugar is bad but high-fructose corn syrup is worse. Excessive use of sugar triggers the hormone insulin and one of its roles is to store fat and keep it there. Opt instead for sodas sweetened with natural zero calorie sweeteners such as Stevia. Stevia is beneficial for your health in that it balances blood sugar or try sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange juice.

Artificial Sweeteners
It seems like a no-brainer when a sugar soda contains 150 calories each and a diet soda has zero calories to opt for the diet soda. But the health implications are inherent in both types of sodas. The San Antonio Heart Study found that those who drank 21 diet sodas a week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who did not drink diet sodas. Additionally, artificial sweeteners alter gut bacteria to stimulate appetite, cravings and fat storage.

“Artificial sweeteners alter gut bacteria to stimulate appetite, cravings and fat storage”

Research suggests that diet sodas trigger hunger and cravings and may substitute lost calories through other foods preventing weight loss. Other research has shown that diet sodas are addictive. A study involving cocaine addicted rats showed the rats preferred saccharine over intravenous cocaine. I recommend stevia, swerve or xylitol. Xylitol is used just like sugar and has been shown to help with weight loss.

Processed meat People who eat high levels of foods such as ham, sausages, chorizo, salami and bacon have a higher risk of heart disease and cancer, and shorter lives. These processed cured foods contain a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used to color foods so that they appear fresh. Sodium nitrate has the potential to create the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Opt instead for homemade marinated meats, leftover meats, fresh marinated pork, cooked not cured meats.

Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn smells and tastes delicious but contains a chemical called diacetyl that is used to give microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. Unfortunately it also can create a condition call bronchiolitis or ‘popcorn workers lung’ Microwave popcorn also contains PCOA a likely carcinogen. On top of that, add in the fat, calories and sodium contained within this popcorn, and you have a health disaster in your hands. Opt instead to make healthier popcorn yourself or buy it pre-popped in a bag.

Bagels are yummy but the portion size is huge. Just one bagel provides the equivalent of the carbohydrate allotment for the entire day. Bagels are low in nutrients, even ‘whole wheat’ bagels are just partially whole wheat. In the standard white bagel, it is mostly white refined flour and that means your blood sugar will spike and then drop…with energy drops as well. Opt instead for eating half a bagel, whole grain toast, whole grain muffin or whole grain tortillas.

Granola Bars
Yes, granola bars are portable, tasty, and you feel like you’re making a healthier choice. But beware these seemingly innocent bars may be an over-processed nutritional mess. These granola bars can be the equivalent to a candy bar. These bars are usually full of sugar, additives and preservatives. Opt instead for dark chocolate. 2 squares of chocolate that is 70% or higher in cacao. This will immediately satisfy your snacking desire, your sweet tooth and is a super food. Fresh fruit, crunchy almonds are also easy portable and healthier alternatives.

Many people believe that highly processed margarine is the healthier butter substitute. In fact, margarine can be high in Trans fatty acids – the most toxic fat known. In time, margarine increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers the good (HDL) cholesterol and decreases immune response. What is even more insidious is its ability to create low-level inflammation (that is silent until symptoms appear) – the core cause of most illness, disease, faster aging and weight gain. Opt instead for real butter. Real butter has been maligned for years due to the saturated fat it contains. We now know that saturated fat is healthy for us in moderation and it is taking time to get the word out.

Fruit Juice
Many believe that fruit juice is healthy when in fact it is just a step up from a coke. It’s only saving grace are the nutrients it contains. The real problem with fruit juice is that it is missing the fiber that comes with the whole fruit. This fiber slows the release of the sugar fructose that can be instrumental in triggering weight gain, diabetes, inflammation and more. Only the liver can break fructose down and what is more, this sugar is metabolized to fat far more rapidly than any other fat. Opt instead for coconut water, veggie juice, water or fruit water.

“White flour is metabolized just like sugar”

Pretzels have the reputation of being a healthier snack food, when in reality they are not. When a food is low in fat, it means the food manufacturers are most likely adding other ingredients to up the taste experience this can come in the form of sugar, salt and more. In the case of pretzels, it is salt. Pretzels are high in sodium and one serving is a quarter of a day’s sodium quota. Pretzels are also made with white flour. White flour is metabolized just like sugar creating severe blood sugar spikes and then steep drops. This is the roller coaster effect of inflammatory foods such as pretzels and this means the potential of weight gain down the road. Opt instead for crunchy almonds, cheese crisps (melted shredded cheese medallions in the oven), low-carb tortilla chips.

Corn is a grain not a veggie as most believe. Corn provides vitamins and antioxidant nutrition, many are allergic to corn and this can create corn is the most abundant grain produced in America and helps deliver an over-abundance of omega 6 fats. These fats are essential but trigger inflammation if ingested omega 6 fats are eaten in excess and it certainly is in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Weight gain and low-level inflammation go hand-in-hand Opt instead for non-corn snacks, non-corn tortillas and avoid corn oil.

White flour pasta metabolizes just like sugar causing blood sugar spikes and drops. Many people are eating pasta and do not realize that the reason they have weight gain can be traced to this white flour. When the blood sugar is on a roller coaster ride, the hormone Insulin is triggered excessively and insulin is your fat storage hormone..and likes to keep it there especially around the belly. This is creating an inflammatory effect that slows the body’s metabolism. Opt for 100% high fiber whole grain pasta (on the ingredient list) such as whole wheat or brown rice pasta or opt for spaghetti squash that makes a delicious substitute for white pasta. Simple switches can make a huge difference in your weight loss and health goals. Never underestimate the power of one small change.

© 2014 DLS HealthWorks, LLC.
Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, health and weight loss expert is the best-selling author of ‘Fire-Up Your Fat Burn!

Sample Diet Plan For Weight Gain

Though eating high-calorie foods like sodas, donuts, and French fries can make you gain weight, it is not a healthy approach.

Your aim should be to build muscle mass and gain weight in a healthy way. Eating processed foods for weight gain can lead to the accumulation of subcutaneous or visceral fat. This can result in the unhealthy deposition of fats around your belly area or organs, respectively.

Following is a sample diet plan that can aid healthy weight gain. This plan can vary based on the age, sex, the level of physical activity, and calorie requirements of the individual.

  • Overnight soaked almonds (6-7 pieces)
  • 2 multigrain breads with low-fat butter and egg omelet (2 egg whites from 1 whole egg).
  • A cup of corn flakes, oats with milk, or any cereal porridge (use full-fat milk).
  • Poha, upma, or daliya khichdi with lots of veggies.
  • 2 chapatis with a cup of veggies and a cup of boiled sprouts
  • 2 protein (Cottage cheese/sprouts) stuffed parathas with chutney or pickles.
  • Whole fruits or a glass of fresh vegetable juice with pulp.
  • A glass of full fat milk with a health drink of your choice or whey protein.
  • A small cup of rice and two chapatis.
  • A cup of pulses (masoor, moong, chana).
  • ½ cup of vegetable curry.
  • 3 oz chicken breast or a piece of fish/ eggs/ tofu/cottage cheese.
  • Mixed salad made of cucumber, carrot, and tomatoes.
  • A small cup of curd or yogurt.
  • Veg sandwich with cheese.
  • Baked potato with skin and avocado dip.
  • Fistful mixture of roasted nuts.
  • ½ cup of brown rice and 1 cup of kidney beans/black beans/ mushroom curry.
  • Mixed salad made of cucumber, carrot, and tomatoes.
  • A glass of full fat milk.

9. Ulcerative Colitis

Although Crohn's disease can pop up anywhere between the mouth and the anus, UCLA Health says ulcerative colitis stays in the colon, resulting in a constantly inflamed digestive tract that can initially lead to weight loss. Like Crohn's, though, the treatment for the inflammatory bowel disease &mdash steroids &mdash could make your body gain weight.

"An oral steroid like Prednisone can also cause your body fat to redistribute itself, so instead of it being in your stomach or glutes, it could move to the face or neck," says Sachar.

Even though you may notice a difference in your weight during treatment, everything should go back down to normal as soon as you're able to get off the steroids.

The fix: After speaking to your doctor, find a treatment plan that's right for you and the severity of your ulcerative colitis &mdash one that may or may not involve steroids. While more moderate to severe forms might be treated with steroids, 5-aminosalicylates and immunosuppressant drugs are also options. Whatever you end up using, know your wellbeing is top priority. If that involves gaining a few pounds to better your health, it's worth it.