Gen Y Guzzles Diet Sodas: Could it be sabotaging our diet?

Gen Y Guzzles Diet Sodas: Could it be sabotaging our diet?


Joy Bauer, health and nutrition expert for The Today Show, caught my attention this week! (video above)

Many people think that drinking diet sodas is a great alternative to drinking the full-calorie version. As far as cutting down on daily caloric intake, cutting out full-calorie sodas from your diet can definitely help in weight loss. But switching to diet sodas with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame may not be a great substitute. Recent research indicates that drinking diet sodas may also have an adverse effect on waistlines as well as increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes. Although this particular research was done in older adults, I think it is definitely something for Gen Y to consider before picking up another bottle of diet soda.

Two studies presented on June 25th to the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions indicate that drinking diet sodas can have adverse effects. In a human study, diet soda users experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users over a 10 year period of time. In a study on lab mice, mice exposed to a high fat diet with added aspartame had an increased fasting glucose level compared to mice who were given solely the high fat diet.

Of course, these studies are not without their faults. Animal models are not always an accurate depiction of human pathophysiology and more studies should be conducted to determine the effect of diet sodas on human blood glucose levels. Also, the human study did not take into account the food intake of the participants who drank the diet sodas. Perhaps people who drink diet sodas end up eating more high-calorie foods and overcompensate for the calories they are cutting by drinking diet drinks (as Joy Bauer points out, it’s the story of the guy ordering the double bacon cheeseburger with a diet coke!). Whatever the reason, more studies should be done to determine the true significance of artificial sweeteners and weight gain and risk for type 2 diabetes. I’d also personally like to see studies done in younger adults, as I know from personal experience that we are major consumers of diet sodas as well! I’m sure more research is to come regarding this health issue.

But one thing cannot be disputed-NOTHING is better than water! One study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2010 indicated that people who drank two glasses of water before each meal ate between 75 and 90 calories less per meal and lost 5 more pounds over a 12 week period compared to those who did not drink water before meals. This may not seem like much, but if a person were to eat 75 less calories per meal for two meals a day for a year, it would be approximately 14.5 pounds of weight loss! Furthermore, thirst and dehydration are often mistaken for hunger. People will grab for snacks to satisfy this feeling, when in reality it is water and hydration they need to curb their craving.

So if you have taken that major step from regular sodas to diet sodas, consider taking one more natural step to water. Although the current studies linking artificial sweeteners to weight gain are certainly not conclusive, nothing can dispute the fact that water is always the better choice!

More info:

Dr. Gourmet’s take on the issue (he’s a great resource for any of your nutrition questions): and

Still want a tasty and healthy alternative for water? Check out these great recipes:

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