Low calorie, high risk

You’d think the whole world would have caught on by now. But in case anyone missed it, artificial sweeteners can make you fat, just like sugar.

In other words, they aren’t heaven-sent miracles that prevent obesity. They won’t even help you lose weight. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are just another gimmick from big businesses to make their bank accounts healthier–not you.

Statistics reveal a clear link between the rise in obesity rates and increases in soda availability over the last 50 years. And that includes diet soda.

In fact, a recent review of two dozen cohort studies showed that there’s an equally deadly link between artificially sweetened drinks and a long list of diseases–among them, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. In some cases, the risk was nearly double.

Science points to a lot of possible causes behind these trends. And honestly, they all involve a lot of serious biochemistry–something I’m not sure we want to delve into in here. But just to give you a general idea, research shows that artificial sweeteners can boost sugar absorption in the intestine.

They also light up the same brain centers as sugar–which means that they’ll actually cause you to eat more in the long run.

Another thing to consider is the potential risks of downing too much phosphoric acid, citric acid, and caffeine–common components of carbonated beverages that could potentially impact bone health.

Then there’s that deceptive concept of “calorie-saving.” As you and I both know, food and exercise generate their own kind of reward system. You know how it goes. “Oh, I was good today, so I can have that bagel,” or “I exercised really hard today so I deserve a bowl of ice cream.”

But needless to say, the math just doesn’t work out–from a calorie perspective or otherwise. “Saving” 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar with a diet soda doesn’t cancel out the damage done by that large order of fries. Which means it didn’t really “save” you anything.

In fact, it could end up costing you a lot. So do yourself a favor and do what I do: Drink water.

Can Diet Soft Drinks Make You Fat? Medscape. Sep 16, 2013.