How diet soda makes you gain weight
IF you think diet soda is a cure for weight gain, think again. A new study suggests that it not only doesn’t protect against obesity, it might actually be driving you to eat more junk food.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-champaign looked at the dietary habits of more than 22 000 US adults, and discovered that the more diet beverages you consume, the more of your daily calories come from foods high in salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol. And it’s not because you don’t know any better: oddly, the more educated you are, the more likely you are to fall into the trap, the study found.
Although diet-beverage drinkers consumed fewer overall calories each day than people who drank sugary drinks, a larger percentage of their calories came from junk foods.
The diet sodas seemed to be driving them to eat more bad-for-you foods, according to University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An. To get a definitive answer on the virtues and vices of diet soda, the editors of Eat This, Not That! looked at the research and discovered the truth about zero-calorie beverages.
Diet soda secret #1 It tricks you into thinking you’re healthy
Because choosing a zero-calorie beverage gives you an instant health halo, you may be more likely to feel justified reaching for a bag of chips or a carb-heavy muffin, An says. “If people simply substitute diet beverages for sugar-sweetened beverages, it may not have the intended effect because they may just eat those calories rather than drink them.” In fact, people who consume diet beverages tend to be less healthy, overall, than people who do not, according to an earlier study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Diet soda secret #2
Consuming super-sweet beverages may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall.