It’s no surprise that drinking soda can significantly contribute to weight gain. In 2009 the NYC Health Department ran an ad campaign that showed the “amount of fat” contained in each bottle of soda with somewhat graphic ads that depicted fat within these bottles. Another ad that was less graphic, but just as expressive was one that showed the amount of sugar that you consume in a typical 20 oz bottle of soda. Although many of us are aware of this health crisis running rampant in our country, obesity rates especially in the US are mounting and give no hint of slowing down.
But for those who are trying to cut back on drinking soda, what are the options? If the headaches, lethargy and general irritability that can come with kicking a soda addiction cold-turkey seem like a horrific nightmare for you ( and everyone around you) diet soda may seem like a reasonable alternative. Right?
Wrong. Whether you are enroute to giving up soda completely, or have decided to drink diet soda indefinitely instead of regular soda, don’t kid yourself. Recent studies show that diet soda unquestionably contributes to gaining weight NOT losing it. While this may not be terribly surprising to some, the data mounting against diet soda as a weight loss aid (or at least non-contributor to weight gain) is undeniable.
Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a study that followed 749 participants over the span of nine years and tracked their drinking habits. Each participant in the study recorded how many cans of soda they consumed (if any) and noted whether it was diet or regular. This lengthy study found that the participants’ answers were incredible predictors of fat gained in the abdominal region of the body.
Even when researchers adjusted for factors like smoking, diabetes, level of activity and age, those who consumed soda were much more likely to have gained weight, or carried more belly fat than their non-soda drinking counterparts.
Over this nine year period, participants who didn’t drink soda, on average gained roughly .8 inches on their waists, however, those participants that drank diet soda on a daily basis gained an average of a whopping 3.2 inches around their waists. Even those who reported only drinking diet soda occasionally, on average gained 1.8 in.
Perhaps this data is telling us something that we already knew – or at least suspected. However, in addition to busting the myth that “diet” sodas will somehow aid you in losing weight, the study also revealed that diet sodas are linked to the most dangerous type of weight gain. Weight gain in the stomach is generally linked to an increased likelihood of Type two diabetes,cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
So why is it then, that these diet drinks are so unhealthy? While they may bear markers of being low calorie, these drinks contain artificial sweeteners that are capable of sweetening up soda at a rate of two to six hundred times that of sugar. That’s staggering. And while scientists are still unclear as to why exactly diet sodas cause weight- gain there is no denying the link between the two.
For those looking to improve their cores, once you’ve ditched the soda, start strengthening with this great workout.