Is Diet Soda Hindering Your Weight Loss?

If you want to stay trim, you might want to think twice before reaching for that diet soda or any other artificially sweetened food or beverage. Many studies have revealed that diet soda can lead to a bigger waistline — in fact, diet soda drinkers have been shown to have a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared to non-diet soda drinkers. And people who drank at least two diet sodas per day were found to have a 500 percent greater increase in waist circumference.

Two diet soda drinks on a table

Wait a second … if these drinks have zero calories and are advertised to help you lose weight, how can this be true?

Other studies have shown that sweet tastes, whether from pure sugar or artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin), increase the human appetite. The difference is that when a person eats real sugar, which has calories, the brain receives a signal that helps it feel full — but this signal may not be triggered with artificial sweeteners. If the brain doesn’t sense satisfaction, and instead, continues to seek food to fuel the body, this may contribute to obesity.

As if weight gain weren’t bad enough, studies have also reported the following negative impacts of artificial sweeteners:

  • Diabetes-prone mice that were fed a diet that included aspartame for three months had higher blood glucose levels than mice not given the sweetener.
  • People who drank artificially-sweetened beverages every day had a higher risk for strokes and heart attacks.
  • Sugary drinks were found to dull the taste buds, which led people to crave sweet drinks even more.

So, you may want to rethink your drink. Here’s a hint – just drink water!

Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer