Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were to cut out all additional sugars from your diet for just one week? And to take things even further, have you ever thought about what would happen if you cut out all artificial sweeteners for just one week as well?
You’re probably wondering why you would want to cut out added sugars and artificial sweeteners from your diet for one week, or even at all. This is because there is some emerging research that has linked consuming added sugars and artificial sweeteners can have the same exact effect as real sugar. That affect being that your waistline will grow bigger and bigger!
Diet soda and other types of diet drinks that are sweetened by using artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame, are either calorie free or very low in calories. However, studies have shown that consuming these artificial sweeteners is still going to help encourage your weight gain.
In fact, studies that have been done between people who consume diet soda on a regular basis and those who don’t consume it at all, has shown that the diet soda drinkers are typically at a higher risk for obesity, as well as several other metabolic problems too.
However, there is a little bit of controversy in this study. You see, the bulk of the results have come in the form of observational studies, which can potentially suffer from a form of bias that is more commonly referred to as reverse causation. Reverse causation is essentially what makes it difficult to say ‘this is x and it caused y, or vice versa’. The argument is that those who do drink diet soda on a regular, consistent basis are more than likely already overweight or have some form of metabolic disease. With that being said, it is hard to make a clear-cut connection between the two.
When it does come to diet sodas compared to drinking regular soda and other types of different sugary drinks, the diet option does seem to be a little bit better, although the best solution would be to simply avoid drinking soda and other sugary drinks altogether. With that said, studies have shown that those who do prefer diet soda do normally see less weight gain when compared to the regular soda drinkers.
To sum it up, those who drink diet soda do see less weight gain than those who drink regular soda, but that has only been proven to be true in the short term, not the long term as well. As for the other metabolic diseases that are associated with too much sugar consumption, diet soda drinkers actually have about the same risk for type 2 diabetes as people who drink regular soda do.
While there is the argument that the people who are drinking diet soda are already at an elevated risk for type 2 diabetes, as they are already overweight, it is more than likely a combination of the two, as well as some other mechanisms as well.
With so many questions about the affect of consuming added sugars and artificial sweeteners, and the affect that they have on the human body, much more evidence is required before anyone can say yes or no at a 100%. However, there are some studies that are proving the connection between drinking diet soda and excessive weight gain. Those studies have proven that:
Diet Soda Raises Your Body’s Sugary Expectations
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, they are an astonishing 200 or more times sweeter than that of regular table sugar. This is not good as one of the major concerns when it comes to consuming too many artificial sweeteners, is that your body can potentially become habituated toward consuming even more sweetness. You have probably heard that if you eat too much sugar, you can become addicted to it, right? Well what about eating something that is 200x’s sweeter than sugar?
Since the more artificial sweetener you eat, the more artificial sweetener you are going to crave, it will not be hard to satisfy those cravings by simply consuming even more sugar or other types of sweet things to try to ‘fill that sugary void’. With that being said, there is rock hard evidence that has exposed the direct link between eating more sugar and gaining excess weight. In fact, this is actually the number one reason why many people are rationalizing artificial sweetener as one of the leading causes of excessive weight gain, the bulk of that weight being pure fat.
Your Brain Doesn’t Know The Difference Between Fake Sugar And Real Sugar
There is actually an entire area of research that is focused on exactly how artificial sweeteners are able to trigger your body’s sweetness receptors within your brain. What this means, is that there are studies being done to try and explain why artificial sweeteners and artificial sugars are able to have the same affect on your brain as real sugar does.
How your body is designed, is that once you have any kind of sweet tasting food or beverage, your body believes that there is also going to be a huge influx of calories that come along with it. However, when it comes to artificial sweeteners like the ones that are in the diet soda that you drink, this influx of calories doesn’t come, sending mixed signals to your brains and confusing it. So essentially, when it comes to artificial sweeteners and artificial sugars, you are getting the sweetness sensation, but without any of the calories that your body is expecting to come along with it. It is believed that it is this disconnect that is what leaves your body craving for some type of calories to be consumed. Your body believes that the calories that it should have gotten never arrived, leading you to feel hungry, which will lead to overeating and essentially you gaining more weight. And again, this is not good weight gain that you get from building muscles, but rather the bad weight gain that results in you getting fatter.
Your Body Will Try To Process Artificial Sweeteners Like They Are Real Sugar
Whenever you eat any type of sugar, it sends a signal to your body to start producing insulin, so that it can start to break down the sugars that you have just consumed. Studies have shown that when you eat artificial sweeteners, the same exact response happens within your body. This means that your body is still going to release insulin to break down the sugar, but there is no sugar to actually break down. When you are continuously consuming artificial sweeteners, such as those found in diet soda, your body is going to continue to release insulin that won’t have anything to do, leading you to become insulin resistant, as well as excessive weight gain and even type 2 diabetes.
However, the evidence that supports this is considered to be on the thinner side, meaning that more research is going to be required before a definite relationship between the two can officially be claimed. Another point to take note of, is that most of the studies that have been done on this particular relationship has not been done on humans, but rather on rodents. Essentially, while all of the evidence points to this being true, the evidence to support the claims simply are not quite there yet.
Diet Drinks Make You Think You Can Consume Extra Calories Elsewhere
There are many people who decide to drink diet sodas which are packed with artificial sweeteners, as they feel it will allow them to eat an extra cookie, or have a second helping of pie. By consuming more calories, you will essentially be negating any effects of consuming fewer calories. In fact, there are many studies that have revealed that people who normally consume dirt sodas will actually consume more calories throughout the day, mainly in the form of snack foods. While the cause and effect between this relationship has not been figured out yet, it still makes you think that drinking diet soda is going to eventually make you gain extra weight.
Artificial Sweetener For The Long Run?
While artificial sweeteners do have only a few, or even zero calories, when you use them as a replacement to real sugar, it can make sense for the short term. But there is not enough knowledge about the affects of using artificial sweetener in the long run will really do. If you do drink soda regularly though, you should definitely switch to the diet version as it can help to reduce your risk for gaining too much weight or other metabolic problems such as type 2 diabetes. Essentially, diet soda is the lesser of the two evils, the other one being regular soda. Ultimately however, the best thing that you can do if you are serious about staying healthy in the long run, is to simply cut out all types of soda to begin with. Switch to water instead, your body will thank you for it.