Avoid diet drinks if you are trying to lose weight

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Are you habitually reaching for a Diet Coke as a ‘guilt-free’ pick-me up? Well it may be time to think again as the latest research is showing that diet drinks are linked to obesity and diabetes. A new study tracked users of low-calorie sweeteners in diet drinks for 10 years and compared them with people who didn’t use artificial sugar. It found that the low-calorie sweetener users were heavier, and had larger waist circumferences and more abdominal obesity than the non-users. A 2015 study in the British Medical Journal analysed all the best available research on the association between sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially sweetened drinks, juices and Type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that regular consumption of sugary drinks was associated with diabetes but alarmingly the consumption of diet drinks was also linked to diabetes. Since the 80’s diet drinks sales have steadily increased but recent findings might be about to change all that – the general public as well as the scientists are now starting to question whether artificial sweeteners are as ‘inert’ as was previously thought.

What You'll Need

  • A study back in 2008 found that feeding Splenda (sucralose) to rats at the recommended human dose for 12 weeks dramatically altered both the number and diversity of microbes inhabiting the gut, significantly reducing the number of benefical bacterial strains. These changes were still evident up to 3 months after the Splenda was stopped. The implication is that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the microbiome which can negatively affects our health and can slow down metabolism.

What You'll Do

  • Susan Swithers, a professor at Purdue University, who has done a lot of research on artificial sweeteners, proposes that constant use of artificial sweeteners might blunt the appropriate responses to real sugar and promote metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity.
  • Experimental studies in humans have found that the taste of sweetness, whether real or artificial, can boost appetite and cause people to eat more, so maybe that diet drink you have with your lunch is fuelling your appetite for inappropriate food later in the day.

Tips & Warnings

  • my advice is to avoid all artificial sweeteners, even those claiming to be natural such as Stevia. The more sweetened foods you eat, regardless of how they are sweetened, the more you will hang onto that sweet tooth. A more balanced approach is to stick to real sugar but to limit it to an absolute minimum, having a little of what you like as an occasional treat.
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