Why Diet Sodas Are Making You Fat
Certainly, there are no hidden secrets about the sugar and calorie content in soda. And, logic will tell you that consuming large amounts of regular soda commonly leads to weight gain. But, recent research shows even more that diet sodas play a significant role in weight gain in both adults and teens which in turn raises the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. According to a recent article in The Orange County Register, in one study, “people who drank sodas had a 70 percent or greater increase in waist size compared to those people who skipped soft drinks” altogether. So, where is the weight gain coming from if there are zero to few calories in diet sodas? The key is in the effect diet sodas have on our minds, tastebuds, and bodies.
Based on recent research, here are the Top 5 reasons diet sodas make you fat:
* Rationalization – Drinking fewer calories makes it easy to rationalize eating more calories.
* Food choices – In general, people who drink large amounts of diet soda tend to choose more processed snacks and higher fat “junk” foods like chips, pizza, and French fries over fresh, healthier foods of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins
* Dis-satisfied tastebuds – Artificial sweeteners overwhelm your tastebuds with a sugary flavor BUT they don’t signal the same sugar satisfaction to the brain as do regular sodas and sugary desserts. The result is that cravings build.
* Cravings – Cravings most often occur from an imbalance in blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners may cause spikes in blood sugar. And, as we know from experience, cravings usually lead to poor, spur-of-the-moment food choices that involve eating too much of the wrong types of foods. For example, eating an entire sleeve of cookies vs. enjoying a naturally sweet fruit such as a plum, pear, or apple.
* Slower metabolism – Because of their immensely sweet flavor, artificial sweeteners signal to the metabolism that sugar is on its way. This produces insulin, known as the fat storage hormone, which leads to weight gain and belly fat.
The Orange County Register
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Top 5 (+1) Ways Kick the Diet Soda (and Soda) Habit:
* Switch out soda for water – Studies show the average diet soda drinker drinks 3 sodas per day. Make a pact to switch out at least one of those sodas for an equal amount of water.
* Flavor water with lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber to keep your tastebuds interested.
* Switch out diet soda for tea. Black tea and green tea not only taste delicoius but they have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation properties. But, even if you don’t want black or green tea, any kind of natural herb tea is a better choice over diet soda. Swap one soda for one glass of tea each day, and sweetened southern iced tea does not count.
* Diet soda (and soda) cravings are linked to sugar cravings. Eat some fresh fruit, instead, and drink a glass of water. The natural sugars in fresh fruits will satisfy the tastebuds, help balance blood sugar, and help cravings subside.
* Change your routine. If walking by the vending machine at the office triggers the need to buy a soda, diet or regular, change the route you walk. Walk down a different hallway, stay out of the company breakroom, and carry your flavored water with you in a bottle at all times. If you are already holding your water bottle, you won’t need to hold a can of soda.
* Don’t buy it. Logic dictates that if you bring it home from the grocery store, you will drink it. Carry your flavored water bottle with you to the store and make a pact with yourself that when you see those sodas, pass on by. Don’t buy it. Don’t bring it home. You won’t drink it.
Cheers to good health!
Susan, The Bikini Chef®