Reuters Health – People over age 65 who drink diet soda daily tend to expand their waistlines by much more than peers who prefer other beverages, possibly contributing to chronic illnesses that go along with excess belly fat, according to a new study. Research in other age groups has directly associated drinking sodas that replace sugar with artificial sweeteners and increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and preterm birth, said lead author Dr. Sharon P. The new study only observed people over time, and did not test whether drinking diet soda actually caused gains in abdominal fat, she cautioned. For older people, who are already at increased risk for heart and metabolic diseases, increasing belly fat with age just adds to health risk, Fowler and her colleagues write. To see what role diet soda might play, the study team followed people over age 65 for an average of nine years. The study started with physical examinations and questions about daily soda intake among people who were over age 65 when first examined between and By , participants were still living and had returned for three more examinations.
Although we’re familiar with the ill effects of artificial sweeteners, a study recently shed light on the frightening link between zero-calorie artificial sweeteners to diabetes and obesity. And to make matters worse, another study revealed that daily diet soda drinkers grow about two-and-a-half more inches of belly fat each decade than those who don’t drink the stuff. In fact, analysts tie the soda giant’s debut of the millennial-driven flavored Diet Coke cans to the recent sales surge. Diet sodas also harm the immune system because their acidity causes havoc with our gut bacteria. And the phosphoric acid that’s present in many cans has been shown to leach calcium from our bones. While every diet soda is bad for you, some are clearly worse than others. The team at Eat This, Not That! Read on to discover where your favorite cola landed—and discover our surprising 1 pick, which might become your new go-to. First, we measured the amount of artificial sweetener in each soda, paying special attention to aspartame, the most pervasive sweetener. The low-calorie sugar alternative, made by joining two amino acids with an alcohol, is times sweeter than sugar—and the subject of controversy.
Purdue University scientist Susan Swithers found in a meta-analysis of 26 health and diet studies that artificially-sweetened sodas — unlike water — were often still associated with many of the same ailments common in people who drink sugary sodas, and may actually increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. According to Swithers, the trouble with artificial sweeteners is the same thing that makes them so popular — they taste a lot like sugar and have few or zero calories. For example, the molecule for sucralose found in products like Splenda, is extremely similar to the molecule for sugar. That is why it tastes eerily similar — it is tricking our bodies into thinking we are eating something sugary. But our bodies cannot metabolize sucralose. It just passes through us. This is its charm— and its potential danger. Normally, when our body detects that we have eaten something sweet, it anticipates the arrival of much needed energy and activates mechanisms to capture it.