Diet Soda and Weight Gain

Many calorie conscious people choose diet soda over regular soda believing it is the better choice, but new studies show this may not be true.

What refreshing beverage will you have today? If you’re thinking a bubbly diet drink you may want to reconsider. Diet soda has become more popular as people are becoming more aware of their caloric intake, but are diet sodas better for you? The facts may surprise you.

Sugar Free is the Way to be

Yes, diet drinks may seem like a great guilt free pleasure: there are no sugars, and no calories, and we all know that calories are what matter. So what more could we ask for? Well, actually a lot. The artificial sweeteners which are often used in diet sodas as well as other diet products really are not at all what they are cracked up to be.

In a new study researchers found correlations between diet sodas and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and abdominal obesity to name a few. According to Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda, an article published in the New York Times on February 5, 2008 by Nicholas Bakalar, “the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.”

Why Does this Happen?

When you drink something which contains a sweet taste the body prepares for the caloric intake, but in diet drinks there aren’t any calories to process causing confusion in your brain chemistry. On February 11, 2008 a report on ABC News showcased a study at Purdue University that tested this theory with rats. They found that the rats who were on the diet containing the artificial sweetener saccharin actually gained more weight than the rat given sugary food. A summary of this newscast can be found on ABCNews.com.

According to the news coverage, “the rats whose diets contained artificial sweeteners appeared to experience a physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, which drove them to overeat.” This is bad news for everyone who had hoped they were doing something good for their body.

More Bad News About Diet Soda

The wonderful calorie free beverage is unfortunately full of other ingredients which may work against your body’s hope for balance. One ingredient which sounds appealing, and is a major selling point for soft drink manufacturers is caffeine, but the truth about caffeine is that although it will give you a little buzz, in the end it really is giving you fatigue and insomnia. Exactly what you didn’t want.

Another killer ingredient in all carbonated sodas is phosphoric acid; this will not only throw off your pH balance but also depletes your calcium levels. To illustrate the severity of phosphoric acid perform the following experiment. Fill a glass with soda, diet or regular, and drop a nail into the glass. Observe it over the course of an hour or two. You’ll find that the soda eats away at the nail in a surprisingly short amount of time. This is intended to demonstrate what could happen to your stomach tissue with the consumption of soda.

So next time you reach for a cool refreshing beverage it may be wise to reach past the diet soda, and grab some hydrating water or ice tea instead. But if you must have your soda fix, diet or regular, remember that most everything is okay in moderation.

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