When you reach for a diet soda instead of a regular, you might think you’re doing yourself a favor. And, while it is true that you can save yourself some calories by grabbing a diet drink, there’s a good chance you’re doing more harm than good. Not only do many diet sodas contain potentially dangerous chemicals, such as Aspartame, but studies have also shown that diet soda drinkers tend to be more overweight than those who skip the soda or who drink regular sodas.
The interesting thing about this study, which was first published in the research journal Nature, is that, while researchers could determine a clear link between diet soda drinking and being overweight or obese, they’re still not 100% clear on why diet soda consumption leads to obesity and gaining weight.
They do, however, have their theories, one of which is that artificial sweeteners themselves lead to weight gain. Interestingly, the researchers did find that when consumed regularly, artificial sweeteners had the ability to modify the natural bacteria found in the gut, which could lead to glucose intolerance, obesity, and a higher risk for diabetes!
The other line of thought, however, is that people who drink diet soda are likely to consume other diet foods and drinks, which are likely to contain artificial sweeteners. Thus, these people do not consume sugar regularly. And, while dieters should avoid large amounts of sugar, some sugar is still necessary in the diet. Thus, when people regularly deprive themselves of sugar, they are more likely to experience cravings and thus overindulge in sugary foods, which could easily lead to weight gain.
Researchers also theorized that those reaching for diet foods and drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese in the first place and that the study results might thus be unfairly skewed. Even if the results are skewed in some way, however, the fact remains that diet soda drinking is obviously not a healthy choice for anyone, especially those who are trying to control their weight.
Setting aside these serious problems with diet soda, there is also the fact that diet soda has a dehydrating effect, which can easily lead to water retention and bloating, the banes of any dieter’s existence. Add this to the fact that most diet sodas are filled with unnatural ingredients, and these drinks are basically a recipe for a health disaster.
Those who are watching their weight and their overall health are encouraged to opt for water over diet sodas or any sodas. If a sweet drink is needed, tea with a little sugar or honey, coffee with a small splash of sugar, or diluted juice, all consumed in moderation, can do the trick without damaging your diet or your health. As this study shows, drinking just about anything else is a whole lot better for you than drinking that diet soda; it’s just not worth it!