Well, scientific research is quite divided on this subject.
Research from the University of Texas Health Science Centre believes there could be a direct link from diet soda/drinks to all kinds of health issues, such as diabetes and kidney problems. Over a 9 1/2 year study of people who drank 2 or more diet sodas per day, they experienced a 500% increase in their waist measurements compared to non-drinkers. In addition, as a group, those that drank diet drinks experienced a 70% increase in waist circumference compared to non-drinkers of diet soda.
Now, diet sodas and drinks are full of artificial sweetners to ensure they have a zero or low calorie count. Scientific opinion on these sweetners varies immensely. There are hundreds of reports stating that these sweetners have been linked to all sorts of health problems such as cancer, depression, kidney problems, migraines etc. If however, you go to the British NHS website they state that sweetners are safe for human consumption and are a good way to reduce calorie intake.
So, inevitably, like any advice about weight loss the information is extremely confusing. One set of scientist say diet drinks are OK and the other says you should avoid them at all costs.
If you want to achieve long term weight loss, you have to re-train your taste-buds and your eating habits. If you replace sugary drinks with artificially sweetened drinks then you’re continuing to feed your “sweet tooth”. This plays havoc with your brain, continuing it’s cravings for overly sweet foods. You are much more likely to then indulge and binge on sugary foods when you are feeling weak – undoing all your weight loss goals.
Some scientists believe that artificial sweetners may even confuse your metabolism, although this has yet to be proven. Current scientific evidence shows that blood sugars are controlled by a negative feed back system utilising insulin. When high blood sugars levels are detected the body releases insulin to deal with it. When blood sugar levels drop, the brain starts craving sugar again to rebalance the blood sugar levels. It may be that even the taste of sugar, triggers a reaction in the body to deal with expected high blood sugar levels. The body then ramps up and starts mopping up all the blood sugars in it’s system. When you have consumed artificial sweetners, no new sugars actually arrive in the bloodstream. Your blood sugars are therefore in deficit which triggers the brain to crave sugary foods again. The result – you end up bingeing and ruining your weight loss goals.
Personally, I never drink diet drinks for two reasons:-
- I can’t stand the taste of sweetners – they just taste artificial to me.
- I’ve always believed it’s better to eat small amounts of full fat, full sugar foods/drinks and be more aware of what I am eating. In my opinion any foods that contain artificial ingredients can’t really do our bodies any good. For the same reasons, I always have butter not margarine.
I’m lucky I’ve managed to maintain a fairly steady weight all my life and I put this down to Common Sense Eating. Don’t overindulge in high fat, high sugar foods and make sure you eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Some of my options for replacing sugary drinks:
- herbal teas
- green tea
- super duper water!!
How do you feel about diet drinks?
Love them or hate them?
Let me know in the comments below – I’d really love to receive your feed back.
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