In The News: Dieting? Ditch the Diet Soda

Reader Contribution by Justine Patton
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Those in search of the perfect bikini body this summer should lay off the diet soda, a new study suggests.

The study, which was performed by researchers at the University of Texas Health and Science Center San Antonio, wanted to study the association between body fat and diet soda over time. Researchers followed 474 adults during the course of almost 10 years. They monitored their diet soda intake and measured their height, weight and waistline circumference during the time period as well. The results were quite devastating for diet soda fanatics.

All of the participants saw an expansion in their waistlines (which is no surprise, considering the current state of the obesity epidemic), but the participants who reported drinking diet soda had 70 percent greater expansion than those who chose healthier beverages.

And the more diet soda participants guzzled, the larger their waistlines grew. Those who consumed two or more diet sodas a day saw a 500 percent greater bulge in their britches than non-drinkers did.

“Diet” doesn’t necessarily mean better for you. A recent study suggests that regular
diet soda drinkers gain more weight over time than non-drinkers.
Photo by biberfan/Courtesy

This isn’t the first bad review diet soda has faced in recent years. Earlier this year, a study suggested that those who regularly drink diet soda also have a greater risk of stroke and heart attack.

In addition, the latest issue of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggested that we reduce our intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, like diet soda. Why you ask? The guidelines state, “Sugar-sweetened beverages provide excess calories and few essential nutrients to the diet and should not be consumed when nutrient needs have been met and without exceeding daily calories limits.”

Research also suggests that women who drink diet soda on a regular basis are more at risk for a low bone mineral density, which leaves them largely susceptible to osteoporosis.

But dieters, don’t despair. There are plenty of other beverage options to quench your thirst and keep your belly at bay. Here are a few tips from “Better Beverage Choices Made Easy,” a list created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Carry a bottle of water and refill it throughout the day.
• Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
• Serve water with meals.
• Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
• Add a splash of 100 percent juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
• When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-ounce cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories. 

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