Study after study has told us to watch out for those empty, sugary calories in sweetened drinks like soda, but two new studies remind us about the dangers of diet soda — they too can lead to weight gain and may raise your risk for developing diabetes.
The studies were presented at a diabetes conference this weekend, and together they show that drinking diet soda may just be another thing in our diets that is making us fat. One study followed 474 older-age diet-soda drinkers and found that their waistlines grew 70 percent more than non-diet-soda drinkers, even when the researchers accounted for differences in age, physical activity level, and diabetes status.
The news gets worse; read on for how bad a two-diets-a-day habit is for your waistline.
Those who drank two diet sodas a day or more had waistlines that were 500 percent larger than the nondrinkers. All that extra bulge around the belly is a risk factor for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
This isn't the first study to point out diet soda's role in weight gain. Others have found that artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is used in diet sodas, make our bodies crave calories. The result? We give in to those cravings by eating even more sweet, high-calorie foods; not only that, noncalorie sweeteners may also trigger our bodies to start storing more calories as fat.
The other study presented at the conference was performed on mice and found that those whose food was sweetened with aspartame had higher fasting blood sugar levels than the mice who ate nonartificially sweetened food. That, the researchers say, can lead to diabetes.
More and more, diet sodas seem to be getting a bad rap. But if you're a fan of the occasional Diet Coke, do studies like these worry you, or is your philosophy "everything in moderation"?