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New studies link diet sodas to obesity

Jul 13th 2011 at 5:45 PM

New studies link diet sodas to obesity

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News


July 06--It's common knowledge that excess sugar consumption leads directly to weight gain.

However, new studies suggest that diet drinks can cause obesity too.

That's what the authors of two new studies that were presented at a meeting in San Diego for the American Diabetes Association are saying.

One study followed more than 400 diet soda drinkers for 10 years. This study found that the diet soda drinker's waist sizes increased 70 percent more than non-consumers. Those who consumed two or more diet sodas per day increased their waist sizes five times more than those who avoided diet drinks entirely.

"They may be free of calories but not of consequences," Dr. Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said in a written statement. "These results suggest that -- amidst the national drive to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks -- policies which would promote the consumption of DSDs (diet soft drinks) may have unintended deleterious effects."

As your waist size grows, so do your health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The other study revealed mice that were fed with food laced with artificial sweetener had higher blood sugar levels than mice eating normal food.

"Artificial sweeteners could have the effect of triggering appetite, but unlike regular sugars, they don't deliver something that will squelch the appetite," Sharon Fowler, co-author of both studies, said.

So, what should we be drinking?

"Beverages loaded with sugar, such as soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, will contribute directly to weight gain," Heath Herrera, M.Ed., CSCS, YFS1 and owner of Fitness Revolution in San Marcos the home of HH Fitness Boot Camps, said. "Diet Drinks are not the answer either, according to the data from these studies. We recommend water or green tea."

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