Rachael has her Doctorate of Psychology degree from the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium. She is responsible for the oversight of all disease management, behavioral health, and wellness and prevention programs in the Behavioral Health and Wellness department. Rachael has been with Denver Health since 2007.
Is Your Diet Pop Making You Fat?
You might want to think twice before reaching for that diet soda or any other artificially sweetened food or beverage if you want to stay slim and trim. Many studies have demonstrated that drinking diet soda can lead to a bigger waistline. Diet soda drinkers have been shown to have 70% greater increases in waist circumference than non-diet soda drinkers. Furthermore, people who drink at least 2 diet sodas a day have been shown to have waist circumference increases 500% greater than people who didn't drink any diet soda at all!!
So if these drinks have ZERO calories, and have been advertised to help you lose weight, how can this be?! Experiments have demonstrated that sweet taste, whether in the form of pure sugar or artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin), increases human appetite and the motivation to eat. The difference is when a person eats real sugar that has calories, the brain receives a signal that helps it to feel full. But with artificial sweeteners, this signal may not actually be triggered. and so the brain does not feel that complete satisfaction and instead continues to seek out food to fuel the body, which may contribute to obesity.
If weight gain isn’t enough, other studies have shown the following negative impacts of artificial sweeteners:
- Diabetes-prone mice that were fed a diet that included aspartame for three months had higher blood glucose levels than mice not given the sweetener.
- People who drink artificially sweetened beverages every day have higher stroke and heart attack risks.
- Sugary drinks can dull taste buds, leading consumers to crave these sweet drinks even more.
Rethink your drink! Here’s a hint – Just drink water.