Monday, June 13, 2005

Diet Soda Linked to Obesity

In the years I've been advocating healthy eating habits, one thing I've repeatedly recommended was to avoid replacing regular soda with diet soda - and even if you already drink only diet soda, just break the soda habit - regular or diet - and don't look back!

Well, now it seems that the research is showing that diet soda consumption is linked to obesity. The findings come from the San Antinio Heart Study and were reported in earlier today.

A review of 26 years of patient data found that people who drink diet soft drinks were more likely to become overweight. Not only that, but the more diet sodas they drank, the higher their risk of later becoming overweight or obese - 65 percent more likely for each diet drink per day.

However, the idea that diet sodas can lead to weight gain isn't new. Last year, a group from Purdue University found that when rats were fed the equivalent of diet soda, they ate more high-calorie food afterwards than did rats fed the same amount of a drink sweetened with high-calorie sweetener.

The group hypothesized that the body regulates its energy needs through appetite and that it learns to associate sweetness with a lot of calories. But when fed artificially sweetened foods and drinks on a regular basis, the body figures it can no longer use taste to estimate calorie consumption. It assumes that it can eat all the sweets it wants, without consequences.

Let me give it to you straight - anytime you're drinking soda - diet or regular - you're not drinking something better for your body....water! Water is calorie-free and comes with a host of essential minerals too - things your body needs.

So next time you're thirsty, pass on the soda and grab a nice bottle of spring water or mineral water - hey even add some fresh lemon or lime too - your body will thank you!


  1. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Did the study happen to mention the specific sweetener that was triggering the overeating or are they basically saying that the concept of the artificial sweetener is what's causing the excessive eating? I've heard that aspartame (Nutrasweet)was a trigger for overeating. Hmm...

    ...And another thing--wouldn't a pure-sugar soda be more likely to bust one's beta cells in the pancreas, thus creating insulin resistance/syndrome x/abdominal fat? They didn't mention any of that in the study either...
    Enjoying your blog!
    Adam Wilk

  2. Hi Adam,

    The evidence to date about artificial sweeteners (AS) shows that an insulin response is the most likely culprit when you eat or drink them. The insulin response lowers blood sugars (and the AS doesn't provide a rise in blood sugar the body thought it needed the insulin release for) and then stimulates appetite so you eat to stave off the hunger and potentially eat more calories than you need.

    Second question - if the soda is sweetened with sugar (sucrose) than you'll have an insulin response...however, most sodas are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which bypass the pancreas (and a high insulin response to clear the HFCS sugars) and go to the liver to be processed and are coverted to triglycerides - high TG levels winds up being the most common problem.

    A study that explains this better is here:

    In it is the following:
    "A high flux of fructose to the liver, the main organ capable of metabolizing this simple carbohydrate, perturbs glucose metabolism and glucose uptake pathways, and leads to a significantly enhanced rate of de novo lipogenesis and triglyceride (TG) synthesis, driven by the high flux of glycerol and acyl portions of TG molecules from fructose catabolism. These metabolic disturbances appear to underlie the induction of insulin resistance commonly observed with high fructose feeding in both humans and animal models. Fructose-induced insulin resistant states are commonly characterized by a profound metabolic dyslipidemia, which appears to result from hepatic and intestinal overproduction of atherogenic lipoprotein particles."

    Hope this helps!

  3. Anonymous11:22 PM

    "Water is calorie-free and comes with a host of essential minerals too - things your body needs."

    The funny thing is...water has no minerals at all. Hydrogen, Oxygen, nothing else. Kinda brings the rest of this article into question.

    Children: don't practice amateur chemistry or nutritionist at home.

  4. Anti-Bully8:51 PM

    Perhaps Anonymous drinks pure distilled water. Most of us drink tap water or bottled water which do contain multiple beneficial minerals. Anonymous, have you ever heard of a water softener?

  5. JakeP4:41 PM

    I have seen soooo much new evidence lately tying insulin resistance to obesity, and not the other way around, that I wonder if must of the epidemic is related more to these artificial sugars (corn syrup, aspartame, etc) than lifestyle or anything else. We are not only messing with our metabolism (and related organs) in bad ways, but destroying (even in children) our ability to sense fullness in meaningful ways.