Some people believe that replacing their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages with that of artificially sweetened drinks helps them lose weight. These artificially sweetened beverages are often called diet soda because they contain no calories in spite of their sweet taste.
Sugary Beverages and Body Weight
Just a few years ago, scientists conducted a national survey to study the trends on the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) among US adults. They found that in recent decades, there has been a significant rise in the consumption of sugary beverages, which was highest among young adults, especially among black individuals. They also noted that this increase in SSB ...view middle of the document...
It is a fact that the consumption of diet beverages has skyrocketed and is considered by some as a strategy to control weight. However, studies evaluating the effects of diet soda and other beverages on weight control have shown conflicting results.
In 2005, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center compared the effects of drinking regular soda and diet soda on weight change in more than 1500 participants whom they observed for seven to eight years. They reported that those who regularly consumed diet beverages had the greatest risk of gaining weight, citing that there was more than 40% increased risk of gaining weight for every bottle or can consumed daily. However, the authors explained that diet beverages were not necessarily the cause of obesity or overweight, but the total amount of calories one consumed in their daily diet.
In fact, a more recent survey by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health involving about 24,000 participants revealed that people of healthy weight who drank diet beverages consumed fewer calories from food in their daily diet than people who drank sugary beverages. On the other hand, overweight and obese individuals who drank diet beverages consumed more calories from food in their diet than those who drank sugary beverages.
Other Factors Can Affect Weight Gain
The results of the various studies done over the years suggest that drinking diet soda regularly is not a reliable weight loss solution. One may be taking zero calories from liquids but it is possible that at the same time, they are eating more calories from solid foods. Scientists observed that artificial sweeteners disrupt appetite control. Some experts explain that the effect of drinking beverages with zero calories on the body is for it to crave food that contains calories, which contributes to weight gain. Furthermore, Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that in studying the lifestyles and dietary habits of more than 120,000 people over two decades, many other factors could affect changes in weight, including food choices, the amount of physical activity, the amount of sleep, and TV-viewing habits.
Choosing Healthier Drinks
So far studies have shown that neither sugary beverages nor artificially sweetened drinks can help improve excess weight, especially when other factors such as diet and physical activity are unhealthy as well. If you are looking for a variety of drinks to refresh you or perk you up during a busy day, look for other drinks that are healthy and guilt-free such as:
Plain, cold water. If you train yourself to...