What’s for lunch? A turkey sandwich on whole wheat and a nice cold diet soda (zero calories) from you local deli? That will surely pass you trainer’s scrutiny. Right? WRONG!
More than 50% of Americans drink diet soda on a regular basis. Many of them believe that choosing these low or no calorie alternatives to the “real thing” with help them either maintain or lose weight. However, recent studies have shown that drinking diet soda may not be any better than its sugary ancestor. In fact, it may even be worse.
It has been concluded that the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda have such a negative effect on the liver (the organ most responsible for digestion and thus the speed of the body’s metabolism), causing it to work overtime, it ignores its main responsibility, which is to break down nutrients. This will cause your body to store fat and hold onto what’s there, making it almost impossible to lose weight.
Also, the high level of sodium found in these “diet” drinks not only causes you to retain water, it also exacerbates thirst. So scratch it off your list if you’re looking for a thirst quencher on one of the few hot LA summer days!
Dr. Darwin Deen, senior attending physician at Montefiore Medical Center’s Department of Family and Social Medicine in the Bronx, New York, says that drinking diet soda has been linked to the development of a group of conditions called metabolic syndrome. Members of this undesirable group include; an expanding waist line, increased blood pressure, elevated triglycerides (levels of fat), lower levels of good cholesterol, and high fasting blood sugar levels. He further notes that having three or more of these findings increases your risk of diabetes.
Other studies seem to concur:
According to the San Antonio Heart Study, for each diet soda you drink there is a 65 percent increase in your risk of becoming overweight.
According to the Framingham Heart Study, if you drink diet soda you are at risk for weight gain and metabolic syndrome.
According to research done at Purdue University, rats that were fed artificial sweeteners gained more weight than rats fed normal sugar.
Findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, show that meat, fried food and diet soda are all significantly associated with metabolic syndrome.
The best thing to do is to stop drinking soda altogether and use natural sweeteners like honey, stevia or agave syrup to sweeten your drinks. Or try mixing a little of your favorite natural juice (i.e. cranberry) with some seltzer and ganbei!
Ps: If you don’t know why the deli’s turkey sandwich fails, see last week’s installment!