If you were to ask 1,000 people why they drink diet soda and other drinks with artificial sweeteners, I expect the vast majority (if not all) would tell you it’s because they are “watching their weight” and these products have no calories.
While it is true that diet sodas have no calories, it has never been proven that they help with weight loss. In fact, as I have reported in this space before, many studies have clearly shown that diet soda may do the exact opposite: make people gain weight.
Recently, epidemiologist Sharon Fowler, from the University of Texas, presented research data to the American Diabetes Association on soda consumption. In her words, “What we saw was that the more diet sodas a person drinks, the more weight they were likely to gain.” In a CBS news article, nutritionist Melainie Rogers describes the same findings in her work with obese patients.
There are several theories as to why this is the case. Some think it is psychological – that diet soda drinkers eat more because they feel they can “spare” the extra calories. Others point to the fact that artificially sweetened drinks tend to increase the appetite unnaturally. And many believe it could be because aspartame and sucralose disrupt insulin function.
One thing we know for sure is that these products can be harmful to your health. So whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, my advice is to avoid artificial sweeteners and “diet drinks” entirely.
For a healthier alternative, mix an ounce or two of fruit juice (or, even better, low-sugar fruit-juice concentrate, which you can find at just about any health food store) with sparkling water. To make it a bit sweeter, add a few drops of all-natural stevia.