Diet soft drinks and their effect on weight loss
Many people often make the decision to switch from regular soft drinks to the diet versions as a means to improve their health and assist with weight loss. I’m a firm believer in making informed choices. There has been much research done over the years, both for and against diet soft drink. But here are a few things I urge you to consider when deciding whether to make the change from regular to diet soft drink.
Naturally we all know that the more regular soft drink you consume the greater the number of calories you consume. And in turn the more weight you gain. But did you know that studies have shown that the more diet soft drink you consume, the more weight you are likely to gain! Diet soft drinks contain artificial sweeteners which may include aspartame, sucralose, xylitol and mannitol. Researchers have found that these artificial sweeteners interact with your body in such a way as to increase your appetite. And could also interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms to control calorie intake. This interference has been shown to cause a correlation between diet soft drink intake and the potential for obesity. In short, as your ability to control calorie intact becomes compromised by diet soda the likelihood you will over eat increases. There is also the psychological side of things to consider. We often broker deals with ourselves; make trade-offs, compromises, if you like, to justify our choices. Such as, “I’ve consumed less calories by choosing diet soda therefore I can eat more” or “So long as I pick diet soft drink I can have 1 a day, because it has less (or no) calories”.
Researchers believe that when the body tastes something sweet, the brain signals the body to get ready for a sugar rush. However, when this doesn’t occur, the body gets confused, which may result in hormone imbalances. Thus when you do eat, the body is all out of whack, which may result in weight gain. As artificial sweeteners are 1000x more potent than sugar, the more you confuse the body, the more the body doesn’t know what to do when it actually gets the real thing. A double whammy when you couple this with the psychological side as mentioned previously.
Some researchers are suggesting that the problem may lay in the release of insulin. Even though the blood sugar levels don’t increase, the expectant rush of sugar and it derivatives may trigger the release of insulin, thus when it does get the real thing, it gets stored in adipose tissue (fat stores).
There has also been research to suggest that there are correlations between type 2 diabetes and diet soft drink. In one study, the blood sugar levels of rats prone to diabetes was significantly raised when fed a diet laced with artificial sweeteners. Can we extrapolate this to conclude it will happen in humans? Probably not, as a human study has not been undertaken as yet. However, several population studies have suggested there is a strong correlation in humans with a high daily consumption of artificial sweeteners.
Knowing all this I’ve made the choice to treat diet soft drinks just like the real thing, and like any other sugar laden foods and drinks. Once in a while, in moderation, as a treat for all the hard work you have been putting in! I encourage all my clients to consider the information before them and draw their own conclusions. And above all eat well, train hard and have fun.