Many people have losing weight as part of their New Year resolutions. But those looking to cut down on the calories they drink will want to hold off on diet soda.
“Diet sodas are non-caloric so people think they can drink it all day, but some research shows that creates even more problems with their weight,” said Elizabeth Hill, registered dietitian nutritionist at Intermountain Cedar City Hospital.
The jury is out, so to speak, on whether diet soda does more harm than good for people who are looking to lose weight, Hill said.
Artificial sweeteners help reduce overall caloric intake, which one study found helped people lose weight and keep it off.
But other research shows a connection between artificial sweeteners and weight gain and increased appetite.
A National Institutes of Health study found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consumed significantly more solid-food calories, particularly from snacks, than those who drank sugary beverages.
Another study found that drinking diet soda alters the mind’s sweet center. This resulted in more cravings for sweets, and an altered metabolism with an increased risk of fat gain.
A San Antonio study found diet soda intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference over time.
In one study, researchers found that heavy consumers of both sugary soda and and diet drinks had a bigger risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to participants who drank neither type of soda.
“There’s one thing we know for sure: Replacing any kind of soda – diet or sugared -- with water can speed up weight loss,” Hill said. It also helps maintain hydration, as caffeinated sodas can have a dehydrating effect, she added.
“The body’s need for fluids is satisfied primarily through water. In addition to weight loss, drinking more water will contribute to a healthier body over time.”
More information: intermountainhealthcare.org.