Jun 29, 2011

Diet Soda increases weight and risk of diabetes.

Two new studies found that diet drinks and artificial sweeteners increase people's waistlines and increase their risk of diabetes.

From ScienceDaily:

Measures of height, weight, waist circumference and diet soda intake were recorded at SALSA enrollment and at three follow-up exams that took place over the next decade. The average follow-up time was 9.5 years... Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.

Abdominal fat is a risk factor for several conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The researchers say this finding shows that national campaigns against sugary drinks should emphasize that replacing them with diet soft drinks won't necessarily make you healthier.

The report doesn't weigh in on whether a raging Diet Coke addition is preferable to a regular Coke addiction, but it goes on to note that the artificial sweetener aspartame is also bad news if you're concerned about diabetes. In a related study, a group of mice were fed a high-fat diet including the chemical for three moths. Compared to the control group, the aspartame-consuming mice had elevated fasting glucose levels and equal or diminished insulin levels. Co-author Dr. Gabriel Fernandes explains:

"These results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels, and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans."