Rethink diet drinks

Diet drinks may be hurting your waistline. 

Artificially sweetened beverages have been long promoted as a healthier alternative to their sugar-sweetened counterparts. However, new research shows that this is not the case. 

According to recent findings published in PLOS Medicine, diet drinks are not your best friends when it comes to preventing weight gain. In fact, diet drinks may actually cause weight gain, and increase the risk for obesity and obesity-related complications.

The sweet problem
Because artificially sweetened beverages taste similar to full-sugar drinks and have a low calorie count, we often misconstrue them as “healthy”. This means we end up drinking a whole lot more than we should!

Even though they are lower in calories, artificially sweetened drinks may stimulate sweet taste receptors, which can, in turn, increase appetite and stimulate the secretion of gut hormones. And, knowing that they’re low in calories may amplify these effects. This in turn leads to gorging on other foods, especially those that are high in fat and added sugars. 

Diet drinks aren’t the only baddies that contribute to obesity and other lifestyle diseases, but they play a big role. Several studies have linked artificially sweetened beverages with a high body mass index, and an increased risk for diabetes and stroke.  

The best option would be to get used to less sweet foods and ideally cut out sweetened foods altogether, advises Lila Bruk, a registered dietitian based in Johannesburg. “If you can start to enjoy foods and beverages without any added sugar or sweeteners, then you could be assured that any potential health risks are avoided.”


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