Many people drink diet soda with the understanding that this habit will help them lose weight, or at least not put on pounds. Two new studies suggest, however, that they may be disappointed. In one study, almost 500 people over 65 years of age were followed up for 10 years. Those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent greater growth in girth than those who stuck with plain water. Big bellies are a known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
It seems puzzling that a beverage without calories could contribute to weight gain, but the other study may offer some explanation. It was mouse research in which one group of mice was given chow mixed with the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet) while the other group got ordinary unsweetened lab chow. After three months, the mice eating artificially sweetened chow had higher blood sugar than the control mice. Although scientists do not fully understand the mechanism, they suspect this could be related to human weight gain associated with diet drinks.
[American Diabetes Association annual meeting, June 26, 2011,San Diego, CA]

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  1. JM
    Reply

    I wish the study also included the artificial sweetener found in Splenda. I only drink diet sodas with Splenda if I have a choice.

  2. Michael C.
    Reply

    Another risk of Aspartame – that we and many other clinicians have reported is the “brain” symptoms that can occur for Aspartame. One client recently stopped aspartame (in diet drinks) and 10 years of intermittent migraines stopped within a week. They’ve never come back.
    There are suspicions that it can cause MS type symptoms and other neurological issues. We encourage anyone with a “compromised brain” dealing with memory issues, depression, anxiety, mood, attention, or pain to stop the diet drink for 3 months and see if they notice any changes. Though we encourage them to stop anyway.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MOST OF THE ADVERSE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH ASPARTAME REMAIN SUSPICIONS, AND AS WITH MS SYMPTOMS, HAVE NOT BEEN VERIFIED. THERE IS NO REASON TO TREAT ASPARTAME AS A NECESSARY PART OF THE DIET, HOWEVER.

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