Still drinking diet soda? Do me a favor. Put the can down. I’d like you to take a closer look at the latest research on these bad news drinks before you take another sip.
We’ve literally been warning readers away from diet soda since we first hit the internet over nine years ago.
These drinks are pushed as a healthier alternative for people watching their weight or blood sugar. That’s how most folks get fooled into drinking them.
But the truth is they actually can cause you to gain weight and boost your blood sugar.
In fact, the evidence against diet soft drinks and the artificial sweeteners used in them is overwhelming. Links between increases in belly fat, weight gain and troubling metabolic changes have repeatedly be found in studies and experiments.
And now a stunning new study—presented at the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society—confirms diet soda drinkers could be unwittingly increasing their risk for diabetes. And not by a little bit, either.
I’ll have more details on those shocking new findings in just a moment. But first let’s take a quick look at just a few of the reasons you should already be swearing off these killer soft drinks.
The diet soda lie harming your health
For one study researchers at the University of Texas medical school took a deeper dive into data gathered in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study on Aging. And when they did, they uncovered a troubling link between increases in belly size and diet soda.
Over ten years, the waistlines of the diet soda drinkers grew 70 percent more than those folks who never drank the stuff. And the more diet soda they drank the BIGGER their bellies grew.
Two or more a day drinkers had a 500 percent greater increase in waist size than those who didn’t drink diet sodas. And in the end, the diet soda fans had gained about two extra inches in their pants size.
So much for the “diet” in diet soda.
But belly fat isn’t the only problem that’s been associated with artificially sweetened diet drinks. In another study, women volunteers who drank the most diet soda had a 61 percent higher risk of heart events such as heart attack and stroke than ladies who avoided the stuff.
Other research has linked diet soda drinking to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire
Critics… like those with a stake in the diet soda or artificial sweeteners industry… would like me to point out at this point that an association, or link, doesn’t prove causation. In other words, these studies don’t prove diet soda caused the health issues.
And it’s true; these studies weren’t the kind which you could split folks into groups and do double-blind, placebo-controlled type research. But the researchers did routinely adjust for the other factors that could skew the results such as variations in eating habits and preexisting health issues. And in these cases, the associations remained strong.
In other words, generally when you see a lot of smoke there’s usually a fire to blame.
Which brings us to the new study presented this month at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.
Diet soda could TRIPLE your risk for diabetes
The new study examined the effects of the artificial sweetener sucralose on human fat stem cells as well as human fat samples gathered from obese folks who drink diet soda.
When they added sucralose in an amount that would be similar to what would be in the blood of folks who drink four diet sodas a day, something interesting happened. Genes responsible for fat production and inflammation sprang into overdrive.
Next, they took samples of belly fat from diet soda drinkers who regularly consumed the artificial sweeteners sucralose or aspartame. Fourteen of the volunteers were obese and four were a healthy weight.
They analyzed the belly fat samples and compared them to a group of sample from people who never ate artificial sweeteners.
The folks who were overweight and included artificial sweeteners in their diet had a huge increase in the amount of sugar which entered their cells, as well as far more fat producing genes. Which matched the results for an earlier study the team had done.
In other words, the scientists confirmed the sweeteners were causing metabolic dysfunction. Which in the real world translates to metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, increased belly fat, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. The syndrome doubles your risk for heart attack and stroke and raises your risk for type 2 diabetes by three to five times.
It’s as close to a smoking gun as we’ve gotten. And is yet one more reason to dump those diet sodas down the drain.