Why do we drink diet soda? It’s certainly not for the taste right? Let’s be honest here. The real reason we grab the diet version of any popular sugar-fueled beverage is to lose stomach fat. Or at least to avoid putting it on. Fair enough?
We’ve all heard the hype about how nasty soda (or ‘pop‘) is for our health and that evil ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup are contributing heavily to the accumulation of excess fat throughout the body right?
So what’s the obvious solution? Switch to the diet variety then. Ditch the sugary drinks for artificially sweetened ones…
Certainly this is the overwhelming trend. Diet soda consumption has increased from 3% back in the mid 60s to about 20% of the population consuming one on a daily basis nowadays.
This has got to have had a positive effect on our ability to reduce or maintain body fat level then doesn’t it? If only dropping a few belt buckles was that easy…
Unfortunately, it seems the opposite is the case. Diet Soda may actually be making you fatter.
According to a study at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – individuals who drink diet soda typically have a higher BMI (body mass index) than those drinking the full sugar alternative.
The researchers discovered that overweight or obese individuals opting for diet drinks make up for the lower calories by overdosing on calories from food – when compared to those that drink the sugary beverages.
The research – a population based study that ran from 1999 to 2010 with 24,965 participants – was published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study showed that both soda and diet soda drinkers are getting approximately the same number of calories – they just come from different sources.
Our diet beverages may be no or low calorie – but those indulging in them are making up for those calories at meal and snack time. In fact overweight adults who drunk the artificially sweetened drinks ate 88 more calories from food per day than their counterparts who drank sugary beverages. For the obese group – a whopping 194 calories extra per day came from food sources.
OK, so there is a school of thought that people with poor diets disproportionally drink diet sodas. Some refer to this as the “Big Mac and Diet Coke” mentality. Perhaps this has something to do with it.
But wait… there’s more to it than that…
There is growing concern that artificial sweeteners – used in large volumes in diet sodas – disrupt our ability to control appetite.
When we consume sweet tasting foods our brain releases hormones to process the sugar and this feedback loop will inform the body how much energy it has consumed and when enough is enough.
However, there is mounting support for the theory that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda affect our ability to accurately monitor energy consumption and the associated hormone response. The result… diet drinkers end up eating more.
So whats the key takeout here? First… public health messages focused on encouraging consumers to drop sugary drinks in favor of the diet alternative need to be reviewed.
And second… don’t depend on diet soda to help you lose stomach fat. In fact in the Belly Fat Formula we make several recommendations on the best approach when it comes to drinking the right fluids and sensible nutrition choices to supercharge your fat burning metabolism. None of these recommendations include drinking diet soda.