Diet Soda Drinkers had Larger Waists than those who drank Sugared Sodas

Soda - Credit: National Cancer Institute/Renee Comet (photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - Two studies are suggesting that diet sodas may be related to weight gain. The diet soda itself may not be packing on the pounds, but other factors may be going on that are causing the pounds to accumulate. The two studies were presented the end of June at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

The two studies came from researchers at the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. They found an association with the people who drank diet soft drinks had a 70 percent greater waist measurement than those that did not drink diet sodas. The Second study found that mice that had a predisposition to get diabetes and ate a diet with aspartame had increased fasting blood glucose levels.

Increased Waist Size from Diet Soda Consumption

The long-term study lasted on average 9.5 years as a part of the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA, which includes 474 elderly Mexican Americans and European Americans. During SALSA, there were initial measurements and three follow-up measurements taken of the participants. This included measuring the height, weight, and waist measurement. They compared those that had drunk diet sodas compared to those that did not, and found that diet soda drinkers had larger waists.

Those that reported drinking diet sodas instead of regular sodas had a 70 percent increased waist measurement. Those that drank two or more diet sodas each day had a 500 percent greater waist measurement than the non-diet soda drinkers.

Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine and senior author has led the SALSA study for two decades. Hazuda said that based on the data, promoting “diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill advised.”

The accumulated fat in the abdominal area increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other medical conditions. If the diet soda is associated with the larger waist size, it could lead to unwanted health effects.

Diabetic Prone Mice had Increased Blood Glucose Levels with a daily diet of Aspartame

The second study involved mice that had a predisposition to develop diabetes and were given aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener. The researchers studied fasting blood glucose and insulin levels in 40 mice could easily develop diabetes. One group received food with aspartame and the other group did not. They gave both groups a high-fat diet with additional corn oil. The mice eating the aspartame had increased blood glucose levels or reduced insulin levels. They did not notice a significant difference in insulin levels between the two groups.

The researchers suggest that the mice that had eaten the aspartame in large amounts had an increase in blood glucose levels. While this is a study on mice, more study in humans is needed to see if the blood sugar levels increase in humans as well. If blood sugar levels increased for humans eating aspartame, the artificial sweeteners might be associated with an increased risk for developing diabetes. However, at this point, it has not been researched enough to know.

Jessica Bartfield, MD, internal medicine who specializes in weight and nutrition at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital has criticized these two studies. Bartfield says that it is not the diet soda or artificial sweetener that makes a person fat, but the food that they eat. Bartfield suggests that if a person is trying to lose weight moving to a diet soda can reduce calories and help them lose weight. At the same time though, she suggest to keep the sodas to only one or two a day.



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