You try and watch your weight so you try and count every calorie including liquid calories. You may even decide to switch from regular sodas to diet sodas in order to help your calorie-counting efforts. But could the switch be causing you weight gain?
Two new studies from the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio found that diet soda is associated with poor overall health and an increase in waist size. In the first study, people who reported drinking at least two diet sodas per day experienced waist-size increases that were six times greater than those who didn’t drink diet sodas. This increased waist size can be associated with an increased risk for heart disease and other chonic conditions. The second study concluded that aspartame – the artificial sweetner most commonly used in diet sodas – raised blood sugar levels in mice that were prone to diabetes. The results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure may potentially directly contribute to increased glucose levels and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans.
Dr. Helen P. Hazuda, the lead researcher of the first study and the professor at the university’s school of medicine, believes that these studies suggest that artificial sweeteners, which have been promoted as healthy alternatives to caloric sweeteners, may not be entirely harmless.
“They may be free of calories,” said Hazuda, “but not of the consequences.”
So if you are watching your calories and exercising regularly but are still having trouble keeping your weight off, take a look at your diet soda intake. It may be that one small detail in your diet that is causing more problems than you think.