July 11, 2013
Diet Sodas Don’t Help Your Waistline, Says New Study
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Although the idea of a diet drink sounds good in theory, scientists now say the low-calorie drinks do not actually help you lose weight.
A Purdue University researcher recently wrote in the journal Cell Press that diet beverages and other non-caloric, artificially sweetened foods and drink do not help manage weight.
"Public health officials are rightfully concerned about the consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, but these warnings may need to be expanded to advocate limiting the intake of all sweeteners, including no-calorie sweeteners and so-called diet soft drinks," said Susan E. Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences and behavioral neuroscience.
"Although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be problematic, that doesn't appear to be the case. Findings from a variety of studies show that routine consumption of diet sodas, even one per day, can be connected to higher likelihood of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure, in addition to contributing to weight gain."
Swithers reviewed and evaluated the most recent research on whether consuming high-intensity sweeteners, despite their zero or lower calories, may result in overeating, weight gain or other health problems.
"The concern that these non-caloric sweeteners might not be healthy is a message that many people do not want to hear, especially as the prevalence of artificial sweeteners increases in other products," Swithers said. "There is a lot of pressure from the public health sector to find solutions to counter the rise of obesity and chronic disease, and there is a lot of money and business at stake for the food industry as it develops and promotes these products."
She said beverages are becoming a political issue as government leaders and politicians seek regulation and taxing to limit their availability and consumption.
"When it comes to making policy decisions, it's more important than ever that the science is considered and that the public understands what the science says in order to help them make the best health decisions," Swithers added.
The findings showed that data from numerous studies reported a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and metabolic syndrome due to these artificially sweetened beverages. Some of the studies indicated that individuals who consume artificially sweetened beverages had double the risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to those who avoided them altogether.
A study published in May in the journal General Dentistry found that diet sodas may be just as bad for your teeth as methamphetamines or crack cocaine. Another study published in 2011 found that people who consumed diet soft drinks experienced a 70-percent increase in waist circumference compared to those who did not drink diet sodas.