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Diet Soda - Friend of Foe? Part II - Weight Loss

posted Jun 22, 2015, 11:23 AM by Walk Strong Calgary
Did you know that for each diet soft drink consumed daily, the risk of becoming obese within the next ten years increases by around 65%? Older adults in particular who drink diet soda continue to put on belly fat. This comes in part due to hormones in the body. 

According to an article on Livestrong.com, it's actually possible that these sweet, zero-calorie drinks may throw off the body's natural metabolic responses, causing weight gain instead of loss, though the reasons for this are yet unclear. One study showed that drinking 2/3 of a diet soft drink prior to eating stimulated the pancreas to release a considerable amount of the fat-storing hormone insulin. If the pancreas is overworked on a regular basis creating insulin to control blood sugar, the risk of diabetes increases dramatically. Over a 7-year period, middle-aged men in one study who drank 1+ diet sodas daily were shown to be much more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. A study published in Diabetes Care indicated that daily consumption of diet sodas was associated with an increase in what's known as 'metabolic syndrome' - high blood pressure, high triglycerides and obesity - which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

There's also a mental component to consider. When we opt for diet soft drinks, we tend to think we can compromise in other areas and are apt to make less than ideal food choices. With zero calories in the drink, we indulge in things such as a burger and fries, which brings up another point. Soft drinks tend to be consumed with fast food, which is a habitual factor. Breaking the fast food habit can do wonders for your weight loss program and overall health.  

Are you looking for hydration? Rather than reaching for a diet soda with caffeine, go for water or herbal tea. Caffeine has known side effects, especially in sufficient quantity, and can interfere with some medications and supplements. 

Another important thing to note is that while diet soda may not contain calories, it's nutrient-deficient, so in the end, what actual benefit are you getting by drinking it? Diet Coke in particular may interfere with your calcium levels due to it's high level of phosphate (source: Livestrong.com). High amounts of this compound in your blood stream can result in calcium withdrawal from your bones. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, drinking Diet Coke can increase your chances of a fracture from a fall by up to four times. 

Diet soft drinks - should you or shouldn't you? Friend or foe? You be the judge. There's that old saying, 'all things in moderation.' If you like the taste of diet soda, having one now and then isn't likely to sabotage your weight loss efforts or leech all of the calcium from your bones. It's excessive and/or regular consumption that's more apt to bring about the unwanted side effects in most people. Some will be more sensitive than others, however. It's your health - you make the call.

Read Part I Here:  Diet Soda - Friend or Foe?

Nancy Ehle is a Certified Walk Leader through Leslie Sansone's Walk Live program as well as a Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise. She holds certifications as a Health Coach and in Sports Nutrition, as well as several industry specialties. Her enthusiasm and passion for healthy living is infectious! Join her on Facebook: Walk Strong Calgary