Diet soda contributes to weight gain and belly fat research shows
by: Talya Dagan
New research reports that drinking diet sodas gain weight and develop more belly fat than others. Belly fat is associated with increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. This fat, called visceral fat, is located between the abdominal muscles and the skin. Research shows that people who drank diet sodas developed three times the amount of belly fat as those who did not drink diet sodas. Other research has discovered that gut flora is changed in people who drink artificially sweetened diet sodas, probably due to acidity.
Research on diet soda and weight gain
The research study was conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with research participants who lived in the area. The research involved 749 people. Participants were all age 65 and older. They were interviewed about what types of sodas they consumed and how often they consumed them. Those who drank diet sodas gained 3.2 inches of belly fat. Occasion drinkers of diet soda gained 1.8 inches, and those who drank no diet soda gained less than 1 inch, about .8 inches. Those who already were overweight had the largest gain in belly fat. One reason that drinking diet sodas increases weight gain is that artificial sweeteners lower levels of the appetite suppressing hormone, leptin. Leptin is responsible for telling your body when to stop eating. Sugar triggers a feeling of being full and not hungry, but artificial sugar sends confusing messages to the brain so the natural message to stop eating is suppressed. When the hormone that directs hunger is suppressed, the body can continue to crave carbohydrates and other sweets.
The research concluded that low calorie and no-calorie sweeteners cause health concerns. They labeled their findings as "striking." The Calorie Control Council disagrees with these findings and believes that using low calorie sweeteners is beneficial to weight loss. While diet foods and diet sodas do contain fewer calories than products sweetened with sugar, honey, or natural types of sweeteners, the calorie loss may be offset by other factors such as injury to the gut flora and alterations within the hormone system governing hunger. Staying hydrated is important for health and it encourages weight loss. Drinking water, especially clean and pure water, is the best way to stay hydrated.
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