Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Could Diet Soda Help Lose Weigh?

Health professionals have accused unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle as the main culprits that are responsible for the obesity epidemic. Being preferred beverages for many people especially the youngsters, sugary soda and drinks are categorized as part of an unhealthy diet. These drinks are bad because they contain excessive sugar that can cause regular drinkers to gain weight.

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to be victim of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes. So many dieters who love sugary drinks simply opt for sugar-free drinks hoping this will help them lose weight. In fact, consumption of diet drinks has increased considerably in the past few decades from 3 percent in 1965 to 20 percent today. But in reality, doing so might just go against the wish of these dieters.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that overweight and obese people who drink diet beverages actually consume more calories from food than heavy people who consume sugary drinks. Their findings were published January 16, 2014 in the ‘American Journal of Public Health’.

Data from the 1999 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used to look at national patterns of drink consumption and caloric intake. The researchers analyzed participants’ recollection of what they had eaten and drunk over the past 24 hours.

Analysis showed that about 1 in 5 overweight or obese American adults regularly drinks diet beverages, including soda and low-calorie juices and teas, which is about twice the amount that healthy-weight adults are drinking.

While overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they actually consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks.

Why is this so?

It is known that human body fights to keep the weight stable. This perhaps can partly explain why weight loss is so difficult and it could also help reveal why overweight diet soda drinkers might be consuming more calories from solid food.

Previous studies had found that artificial sweeteners that are present in large quantity in diet soda could affect the brain's ability to control appetite; meaning people are more likely to snack. In other words, the brain’s sweet sensors might no longer offer a reliable gauge of energy consumption because the artificial sweetener disrupts appetite control. Hence, consumption of diet drinks might lead to an increase in overall food intake.

The study suggested that overweight and obese adults, who have already switched from sugary to diet beverages and hope to lose or maintain their weight might need to carefully examine other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification. It also suggested that diet drinks could contribute to weight maintenance for slimmer people.

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