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Posted by Barry on Sep 13, 2012

Diet Soda

We all want to know if it is a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to our health.  It looks like it could be alright as it has zero calories, but we also see that some of the heaviest people we know drink diet soda.  What is going on here as something just does not seem quite right.

So I did some research as I too like to have a diet soda every once in awhile.  I use to drink a lot of Diet Coke before P90X (I would say 2-3 a day), but since changing my health, nutrition, and my whole life I only have one a week or so.  It kind of comes now as a treat when we go to the movies or like a desert after a meal.  So what is the deal with diet soda?  Here is what the latest health studies are saying.

A recent study found that people who drink two or more diet sodas a day had a waist circumference five times greater than the non-diet drinkers.  While the study shows a connection between drinking diet soda and an increased waist circumference, it’s too soon to say that drinking diet soda causes belly bulge. Here’s what researchers believe might be going on.

Explanation 1: Artificial Sweetness Tricks The Brain?

Some studies suggest that when our taste buds sense sweetness, the body expects a calorie load to accompany it. When that doesn’t happen, it may cause us to overeat because we crave the energy rush our body was expecting.

Similarly, artificial sweeteners might also dull the taste buds—meaning you eat more high-flavor, high-calorie foods to satisfy your cravings.

Explanation 2: It’s a Sign of Larger Dietary Patterns?

One theory: Diet soda drinkers choose the zero-calorie, artificial drink because they have questionable eating habits and are trying to lose some weight.

Often times these soft drinks are consumed with fast foods, fried foods, etc.—sometimes as a rationale that their zero-calorie diet soda is negating or mitigating the harmful effects of the fast food simply because the beverage has no calories.

Diet drinkers may have bigger waists, then, not because of diet soda—but because they have a poor diet, and people with poor diets are (in theory) more likely to drink diet soda.

Explanation 3: Biological Effects?

You have about 100 quintillion bacteria that live in your gut. And scientists now believe these bacteria can have a significant impact on your weight.

Consuming high amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) cause your gut bacteria to adapt in a way that interferes with your satiety signals and metabolism.

How does that happen? As bacteria in the gut process food, they give off byproducts called short-chain fatty acids. These can be beneficial and serve as energy in the body. But as the sweetener-adapted bacteria thrive and become more efficient at processing large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols, they also produce more and more short-chain fatty acids

In those high amounts short-chain fatty acids decrease satiety signals. This signaling may cause disruptions in our feeling full and hence prevent us from stopping to eat when we should.

Bottom line: While drinking diet soda isn’t an end-all-be-all sentence to weight gain, there’s no reason you should drink it. So replace your daily diet soda with healthier drinks such as water, green tea, or even coffee. This website is all about getting healthy and making changes that improve your life.  Diet soda may not be all bad, but it definitely is not helping.  So have one as a treat if you want to, but “kick“ the soda habit and become healthier.

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