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Food Trends: diet sodas not so much of a diet

I am so torn about diet sodas.  On the one hand I love that they are calorie free, on the other hand even though aspartame, splenda, and saccharin have been deemed generally recommended as safe, I still recommend keeping consumption down.  What do I mean when I say “keep consumption down?”  That is a good question. I probably only consume products that have all or any of the above a couple of times a week and do the same with my children.  I have no rhyme or reason for this, except that I prefer whole, natural foods. I do dislike the calories in any drink other than milk and will opt for a lower calorie option when available. 

I’m always on the lookout for research and when one of my peers posted results from the studies below I thought it would be great to share.  Recently, scientific presentations at the American Diabetic Association showed that aspartame and diet sodas may attribute to pre Diabetes or Diabetes and weight gain. 

The first study completed at the University of Texas San Antonio monitored 474 people 65-74 years of age for ten years.  After assessing and following patients for about 9.5 years researchers found that those who drank two or more diet sodas a day increased their waist circumference by seventy percent.

In another study, mice were fed two diets. One diet contained chow which included corn oil to promote high fat and the other diet contained chow which included corn oil and aspartame.  After three months, the mice were assessed and the mice who consumed the corn oil and aspartame chow had high blood sugars.  These results suggest that aspartame could possibly contribute to high blood sugars, although results from mice cannot be directly correlated with humans.

The hypothesis from the first study is that the sweetness from diet sodas may trigger appetite but not quench hunger secondary to inappropriate metabolic responses. The thought is that this in turn inhibits brain cells from feeling full and can possibly contribute to overeating until your body tells you it is finally full.  The study mentions that they evaluated physical exercise and chronic co morbitities, but it does not provide information on monitoring of calories or food intake.

As for the second study, I am at a loss of words.  Aspartame is broken down into amino acids which normally do not cause any reaction in terms of blood sugars.  I am looking very forward to more information on this.


In any case, perhaps these studies will make you think twice about consuming more than two diet sodas a day.  It’s always important to take a look at your total calorie consumption in a day to assess true nutritional status.  If you need help, contact a dietitian.  Until next time, be well.
To drink or not to drink diet sodas... that is the question

Comments

Spencer Kline said…
I find all this very interesting and have tried to quite drinking diet soda since reading this research. Could aspartame raise blood sugar levels changing our sensation relating to what is sweet and cause our brain in many ways to lose it bearings?
Steffi said…
Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!

Pre Diabetes Diet

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