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Drink diet soda and gain weight
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“Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
By Daniel J. DeNoon
People who drink diet soft drinks don't lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows.
The findings come from eight years of data collected by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Fowler reported the data at this week's annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.
"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler tells WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."
In fact, when the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.
"There was a 41 percent increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day," Fowler says.
More Diet Drinks, More Weight Gain
Fowler's team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.
For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
26 percent for up to 1/2 can each day
30.4 percent for 1/2 to one can each day
32.8 percent for 1 to 2 cans each day
47.2 percent for more than 2 cans each day.
For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
36.5 percent for up to 1/2 can each day
37.5 percent for 1/2 to one can each day
54.5 percent for 1 to 2 cans each day
57.1 percent for more than 2 cans each day.
For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person's risk of obesity went up 41 percent.
Diet Soda No Smoking Gun
Fowler is quick to note that a study of this kind does not prove that diet soda causes obesity. More likely, she says, it shows that something linked to diet soda drinking is also linked to obesity.
"One possible part of the explanation is that people who see they are beginning to gain weight may be more likely to switch from regular to diet soda," Fowler suggests. "But despite their switching, their weight may continue to grow for other reasons. So diet soft-drink use is a marker for overweight and obesity."
Why? Nutrition expert Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, puts it in a nutshell.
"You have to look at what's on your plate, not just what's in your glass," Bonci tells WebMD.
People often mistake diet drinks for diets, says Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutrition consultant to college and professional sports teams and to the Pittsburgh Ballet.
"A lot of people say, 'I am drinking a diet soft drink because that is better for me. But soft drinks by themselves are not the root of America's obesity problem," she says. "You can't go into a fast-food restaurant and say, 'Oh, it's OK because I had diet soda.' If you don't do anything else but switch to a diet soft drink, you are not going to lose weight."
The Mad Hatter Theory
"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: It's very easy to take more than nothing." - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
There is actually a way that diet drinks could contribute to weight gain, Fowler suggests.
She remembers being struck by the scene in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice is offended because she is offered tea but is given none even though she hadn't asked for tea in the first place. So she helps herself to tea and bread and butter.
That may be just what happens when we offer our bodies the sweet taste of diet drinks, but give them no calories. Fowler points to a recent study in which feeding artificial sweeteners to rat pups made them crave more calories than animals fed real sugar.
"If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, but it isn't there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is something there and it will search for the calories promised but not delivered," Fowler says.
Perhaps, Bonci says, our bodies are smarter than we think.
"People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn't fooled," she says. "If you are not giving your body those calories you promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite”
“I saw that earlier. Very interesting.”
“that surprises me not one bit. people who would drink that chemical-laden, calcium-leeching crapola every day probably don't have the healthiest eating habits overall. and just because they're not sugar, doesn't mean artificial sweeteners are good for you.”
“I don't drink soda. I drink water and coffee.
Yeah...it really doesn't surprise me either.”
“the whole thing comes down to exercise and diet. nothing to do with diet drinks on their own.”
“Why would someone mix coffee into their water?
last edited: 6/15/05 4:18:54 PM”
“Uhhh, couldn't this corellation be inverse? People start gaining weight and so start drinking diet drinks?”
“Could this because because many people who drink diet sodas are already overweight (hence feeling self-conscious about it...)?”
“"The Mad Hatter Theory" I love it.”
“I read somewhere that diet sodas make people crave carbohydrates.
And......what Gemini said.”
“That's why I started drinking regular sodas and eating diet Big Mac's. I've become gaunt and emaciated ever since.”
“Water and coffee......................and beer.
These three also make a nice enema!
"Step on it, bub!"”
“Intersting article. I'm trying to talk myself into giving up pop. I remember the process in switching from regular to diet pop was a long one for me. I'm sure quitting the pop all togehter will be a long process, too.
I find myself shoving more food in my mouth if there's a soda in my reach. SOmehitng about the bubbles washing that yummy food down makes me happy, so I just keep shoving the food in until the pop is gone. Water or milk doesn't give me that same feeling. I would probably eat less if I took water or milk with all my meals.”
“Smiley Girl, please, never lose that pop.”
“I think this whole thread has it nailed and that there are no surprises here.
Being a short, stocky Canuck myself and neither smarter nor more handsome than the next guy, I don't do preservatives or substitutes like aspertame, fakesoymilk, GMO vegetable oil, tofu 'burgers', et c.
Strictly butter and olive oil, red wine (Italy and France) and brown beer (local [Rickard's] or Newkie Brown).”
“Certainly not politically correct and I'm sure I'm gonna offend someone here but I have been asking myself this for a while. Why is it that fat people will do anything to look slimmer but the most simple thing stop eating? They will get an unusual hair do, buy an entire new wardrobe, eat everything processed and artificial they can get their hands on in the name of low fat, buy a new car, suck in their gut, plastic surgery, new glasses, etc. but never even consider stop eating. And whats with this new hip Splenda crap. It tastes like a swimming pool.”
“Funny thing about Splenda trailhound; they take carbon molecules from sucrose (sugar) and replece them with chlorine molecules.”
“I get tickled when my some of my wife's kin testify how good it taste and that its all natural since its made from real sugar. And then of course they buy all low fat stuff and never consider that the fat has been replaced with nothing other than real sugar.
last edited: 6/16/05 3:11:43 PM”
“A calorie not burned is a calorie earned. It is as simple as that. Yes, biochemically some fatty foods can be stored more efficiently as body fat. The body does however have very efficient pathways to store sugars, protein and carbohydrates as fat. Only materials which we lack the enzyme to breakdown such as cellulose, are exempt from being stored as fat if eaten in excess of burn rate. The old formula to weight loss is still correct. If you eat less and exercise more you lose weight. Diet pill curb appetite and increase the heart rate. That is why they help you lose weight. The diet industry in this country is amazing to me. I hardly diet, but I'm not thin either. If I want to lose weight one thing is for certain I'd be saving money and not spending it. Wanna lose weight eat a ton of veggies and exercise. It works for me. I'm lucky, I'm 6'4" tall and 250#+ large frame. I can eat the same junk food quantity as someone half my size, enjoy it just as much and burn it almost twice as fast.”
“"Why would someone mix coffee into their water? That's odd." - VioLin
I do that...actually I mix water into my coffee....1/2 and 1/2. I'm a tea drinker....sometimes I drink coffee just to have a different taste...but I don't like the bitter taste, so I add water.
For a long time I've been telling people that diet soda don't make them lose weight......no one believed me.”
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