Did you know that if you drink diet sodas you’ll probably gain weight instead of losing? The latest word on this comes from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Researchers there looked into the question of whether or not drinking diet sodas leads to weight loss and found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet sodas actually consume more calories from food than their obese or overweight peers who drink regular sugar-sweetened sodas. The Hopkins’ team discovered that individuals who drink diet soda typically have a higher body mass index (BMI) and consume more snack food than those who drink sugary beverages.
We know that consumption of diet soda has zoomed up dramatically in the past few decades – from three percent of the population in 1965 to twenty percent today (right in keeping with the increasing obesity rate!). The Hopkins researchers looked at data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to collect information national patterns in adult diet beverage consumption and caloric intake by body-weight status. (The NHANES is a population-based survey designed to collect information on the health and nutrition of the US population.)
How does diet soda lead to eating more food?
The Hopkins’ team noted that earlier research showed that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually sabotage the intent of people who believe that drinking these beverages will cut down on the number of calories they consume. Not so! The artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually mess with your brain, disrupting appetite control. The upshot of this is that you’re not satisfied by the no-cal sweet taste of the drink. The researchers found that as a result of drinking diet soda people consume “significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks” than adults who drink regular sodas (which I don’t recommend either). The Hopkins’ study was published in the January 14, 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
What’s wrong with artificial sweeteners?
In my book “The Omni Diet” (now available in paperback) I explain that artificial sweeteners can distort metabolic hormonal messages and trigger hunger, but because they provide no calories, your hunger goes unappeased, and your brain continues to send hunger signals until you eat something with calories.
Beyond that, studies show that artificial sweeteners raise rather than lower insulin levels and consuming these sweeteners on a regular basis can contribute to chronic high insulin. As you know, this is harmful to the body and raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other health problems.
We know from studies in rats that artificially sweetened foods turn down metabolism, leading to weight gain. This happens in humans too! When you eat sugar-free foods, you tend to believe that you can get away with eating more food than you otherwise might not have.
In “The Omni Diet” you’ll find more about artificial sweeteners, why they won’t help you lose weight and why they have no place in a healthy diet.
If you want to lose weight, lose the diet sodas (the regular ones, too) and stick with me. I’ll get you there. Speaking of helping you get to your health and weigh loss goals… Come join us at our Power Up, Slim Down Tuesdays – Brain and Body Wellness Class that customizes the Omni Diet to best fit your needs – offered both live and by webinar! This class teaches a lifestyle – not a “diet”. We will give you the tools you will need to experience long term healthy lifestyle changes!
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