Diet Sodas Are Wrecking Your Metabolism & Sabotaging Weight Loss
I’ve long been a proponent of ditching sodas from your diet since they provide zero nutritional value to the body. It’s no secret that regular soft drinks contain empty calories from lots of sugar which contributes to weight gain.
However, what’s confusing to a lot of folks is how “diet” sodas, with no sugar or calories, could actually trigger weight gain as well.
Believe it, because there’s nothing “diet” about a diet soda. New research is shedding some light on how diet sodas can wreck your metabolism and sabotage weight loss in ways that might surprise you. Artificial sweeteners certainly play a role, but it goes deeper than that as it appears the carbonation may also be in the mix.
If you’re a diet soda drinker you’ll want to put some serious thought into what these drinks are doing to your body.
Diet Soda Consumption and Waist Circumference
Researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio followed 474 diet soda drinkers, 65 to 74 years of age, for 10 years and found that those who drank (1) diet soda a day increased their waist circumference over 70% more than non-drinkers.
Those who drank (2) or more diet sodas a day had over a 500% increase in waist circumference compared to non-drinkers!
Diet Soda Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University both had studies to examine diet soda consumption and the link between possible increased risk of cardiovascular health problems. Their combined findings were part of the Northern Manhattan Study which was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference.
The bottom line…researchers concluded those who drank a diet soda every day had a 61% increase in vascular events compared to those who did not. Read more.
How Diet Sodas Negatively Impact Metabolism
The first issue with diet sodas is the artificial sweeteners that are used as a replacement for table sugar (sucrose). You’ve likely heard of the downsides with aspartame, but the metabolic issues may extend to other artificial sweeteners as well.
At the root of the problem is the impact these artificial sweeteners have on the neurotransmitters in the brain that trigger sweetness and satiety. Simply put, while natural sugar sends a clear message to the brain, it appears artificial sweeteners do not. Bottom line is they’re messing with the chemicals in your brain and blunting hormonal responses which relate to appetite.
The end result of drinking diet sodas…you’re likely to crave more sugar and consume excess calories during the day which obviously can lead to increased fat storage in the waistline.
But Isn’t it All About the Calories?
To get your head around this you have to think outside of the box that fat loss or fat gain is solely a matter of calories. This is simply not the case. Body composition is influenced by a variety of factors including hormonal balances, nutrient assimilation in the gut, metabolic rate, etc.
There is nothing, and I repeat nothing with diet sodas that has a positive impact on any function within the human body. It’s not “neutral” just because of an absence of sugar and calories.
Diet Soda Consumption and Depletion of Calcium
All sodas, including diet sodas contain phosphoric acid which binds and depletes calcium from the body. This is especially of concern for older adults who are more prone to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. If that’s not enough, there’s a connection to weight gain here as well.
In case you weren’t aware calcium plays a role in fatty acid breakdown within the liver. Deplete calcium from the body by drinking diet sodas and you’re handcuffing your ability to lose fat.
So What’s the Deal with the Carbonation?
Interestingly enough, some of the latest research is showing how the carbonation in soda may actually be playing a role in the mixed chemical signals occurring in the brain. At the root of this is the CO2 in the carbonation reducing sweet induced taste perception. In other words, your brain is not getting the same perceived sense of sweetness from the artificial sweetener.
See the following study: Effect of Carbonation on Brain Processing of Sweet Stimuli in Humans.
So what does all this mean?
Let me simply this for you. Diet sodas are completely unnatural to the human body. We could end the conversation right there, but here’s the thing. The normal hormonal and chemical messages which are triggered when natural whole food and drink is consumed gets all crossed up.
This is much like what happens when processed and refined foods are consumed. Again, most of us would have a hard time eating a whole stick of butter, but could pound down potato chips with an equivalent amount of fat.
Eat enough processed foods and drink enough diet sodas and your metabolism doesn’t stand a chance. You’re short circuiting the biology of your body and setting yourself up for fat gain, period.
No only will diet sodas most likely leaving you craving other sugary foods and sweets, you’re more likely to eat more at your meals and snacks later in the day.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you must pull diet sodas from your diet, no if’s and’s or but’s. Don’t kid yourself by thinking it’s ok if you only have one or two a day. Remember the research study I presented to you earlier that showed just what this could do to your waistline.
Kicking the Habit…
Giving up diet sodas is no different than making any other decision to improve your diet. You have to want to make a change and put a priority on your health. If you can go cold turkey that’s your best strategy, if not then look to cut back a can each week until you’re at zero.
If you are a diet soda drinker I hope this served as a wake up call. If you’re not, but have a loved one or a friend who is, please pass this along and encourage them to kick the habit. Help spread the word that there’s absolutely nothing “diet” about a diet soda. Take care and God bless.
Information from Shane Doll CPT, CSCS. Shane is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. Thank you for this important information Shane!