For the most part, there are two predominant opinions on diet sodas and other diet beverages. Either you enjoy them and find them to be a part of your every day life, or you hate them and think they are chock full of harmful chemicals. There does not seem to be too much of an in between opinion here. So what is the real truth about diet sodas and other diet beverages? Read on to learn how they affect your body.
While “calorie free” certainly seems waistline friendly, research is finding that these beverages might actually lead to more weight gain. In a recent study that took place over ten years, participants who drank diet soda regularly were found to have a waist size at least 70 percent greater in circumference as compared to participants who did not drink diet soda. Shockingly, of those participants who consumed diet soda, the ones who drank two or more every day were found to have a 500 percent increase in waist circumference! While this could be due to mixed signals in the body (discussed below), insulin imbalance, or psychological confusion (i.e. I had a diet soda without any calories, therefore I can eat an extra cheeseburger for lunch), the effects are substantial.
Risk for Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
We mentioned insulin imbalance above, and because diet beverages trigger a release of the hormone, it does have an impact on an individual’s propensity towards type 2 diabetes. According to research, drinking just one diet soda every day can cause a 36 percent increase in risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome involves a variety of health issues like hypertension, elevated blood glucose, unhealthy waist circumference, and high cholesterol, and accordingly can lead to other chronic issues like heart disease and stroke.
The digestive process begins in the mouth. Saliva releases enzymes to break down energy (in the form of calories), and then it is down the hatch and in to the stomach where the process continues. But while still in the mouth, the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks give off a much stronger sweetness than regular sugar, so our taste buds seem to think we are hitting a jackpot. Over time, diet beverages begin to dull our actual sense of taste, so that naturally sweet foods like apples and oranges no longer have the same impact on our satisfaction. This leads us to crave more and more sweet foods full of sugar and extra calories that turn to fat in the body.
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Story Credit: 10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda by Mary Squillace
Photo Credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing
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