You know that excess sugar can sabotage your weight loss plan. Plus, it’s just not good for anyone, at any size. So in an effort to reduce your sugar intake (and perhaps lose weight) you decide to ditch sugary soda. That’s a great decision… So why are people now warning you against diet sodas? Aren’t they better, since they don’t contain sugar?
The research on this topic has produced mixed results, but here’s what we know for sure: The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas continue to fuel your cravings for sweet flavors, and appear to alter the metabolic processes which cause you to store fat. One study showed that diet soda drinkers consume 196 calories more than water drinkers, along with 15 extra grams of sugar. If you switch to diet soda, you might simply replace the calories you’ve cut from your diet by consuming more sugar from another source. Of course, this process might be unconscious, so you don’t even realize you’re doing it!
Other than sabotaging your weight loss plan, some researchers have expressed concern over more serious effects of diet sodas. One study tracked over 80,000 post-menopausal women for more than a decade, and found that those who consumed more than one artificially sweetened beverage each day faced an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and early death. Another study linked artificial sweeteners to high blood pressure and diabetes.
To be fair, some studies have shown no correlation between diet sodas and negative health effects. But it’s always smart to play it safe. When in doubt, stick to the foods nature intended for us to consume, and steer clear of added, artificial ingredients when possible. Water will always be your best bet when it comes to hydration, and drinking water will help to break the bad habit of craving regular sugar intake.
However, if you want a sweet beverage once in a while, a diet soda probably can’t hurt. Weight and health are influenced more by daily habits than the occasional indulgence. The key word here is “occasional”.
If you’re concerned about your weight loss plan, please give us a call. We can review your eating and drinking habits, make recommendations for safe exercise, and help you “troubleshoot” any obstacles you might be facing.