“No Solid Evidence to Support that Diet Drinks are a Healthy Choice”
Although diet and sugar-free drinks are often promoted as healthier choices, a new study found they are no more helpful for losing weight or preventing weight gain than their full-sugar versions.
Diet drinks contain no sugar and are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead, and they are often believed by consumers to be healthier.
But, say researchers from Imperial College London and 2 Brazilian universities, there is no solid evidence to support claims they are healthier or that they help prevent obesity and obesity related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
“A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar, they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full sugar versions,” said Christopher Millet from Imperial’s School of Public Health.
“However, we found no solid evidence to support this.”
Despite having no or very little energy content, there is a concern that ASB (artificially sweetened beverages) might trigger eating by stimulating sweet taste receptors. When coupled with the consumers’ awareness of the low-calorie content of diet drinks, people may eat more overall, which contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related health problems.
The study authors added, “Far from helping to solve the global obesity crisis, ASBs may be contributing to the problem and should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet.”
An earlier study from the University of Texas found that 59% of Americans drink diet sodas regularly hoping to lose weight.
Earlier studies have also found that diet sodas do not help with weight loss. In fact, a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found those who drank diet sodas were more likely to become overweight than those who drank regular sugary sodas.
Scientists found that for each can of diet soda consumed each day, the risk of obesity increased by 41%. After 10 years, those who drank 2 or more diet sodas a day increased their risk of obesity by 500%.
In addition, a study published in the journal Nature found that diet sodas change the microbes living in the gut in a way that increases the risk of diabetes.
Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science found that people who regularly used artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and saccharin, had elevated levels of HbA1C, a measure of blood sugar.
Another study, this one from the University of Minnesota, found that just 1 diet soda daily raised the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes by 36%.
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