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The Truth about How Diet Drinks Make You Fat

Simple logic would suggest that swapping a full sugar drink for a diet version cuts calories from your diet. Sounds reasonable but it’s not as simple as that.

Diet drinks have a mixed reputation. Some of this has to do with the cumulative detrimental effect of consuming artificial sweetening substances over a prolonged period of time and another potential problem arises from the argument that consumption of low-calorie sweeteners may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing diabetes and obesity (or as I like calling it ‘diabesity’).

In fact, a research published in the American Journal of Obesity showed that those who consumed low calorie sweeteners put on the most weight. I will come back to this seemingly absurd point later on.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults, and discovered that the more diet beverages were consumed, the more of the daily calories come from foods high in salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol. And it’s not because these people didn’t know any better: oddly enough, the more educated they were, the more likely they had fallen into the trap, the study found.

Despite the fact that diet drinks consumers drank fewer overall calories each day than people who drank sugary drinks, a larger percentage of their calories came from junk foods. The diet drinks seemed to be driving them to eat more junk foods, according to University of Illinois leading researcher.

How does that happen?

  • Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our genetically-programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.

  • They trick our metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes our body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.

  • Diet drinks are not only calorie free, they are also nutrition free.

  • It also confuses and slows our metabolism down, so we burn fewer calories every day.

  • It makes us hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.

  • In animal studies, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14% more body fat in just two weeks — even eating fewer calories.

  • In human studies, there was a 200% increased risk of obesity in those who consumed diet drinks.

My advice is that if you’re seeking a no-calorie drink that will really help you drop kilos fast, drink water.

Here’s some articles I wrote about artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners

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