T Nation

Diet Sodas- Apparently Not So Good

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070723/national/soda_pop_health_effects_1


Another link for this story.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-07-23-diet-soda-study_N.htm

Excerpt from above…
[i]
But Vasan and his colleagues, whose study was published Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, are unsure what it is about soft drinks that ratchets up the risk of metabolic syndrome.

“We really don’t know,” he said. “This soda consumption may be a marker for a particular dietary pattern or lifestyle. Individuals who drink one or more sodas per day tend to be people who have greater caloric intake. They tend to have more of saturated fats and trans fats in their diet, they tend to be more sedentary, they seem to have lower consumption of fibre.”

“And we tried to adjust for all of these in our analysis . . . but it’s very difficult to completely adjust away lifestyle.”

Dr. David Jenkins, director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said previous studies have suggested that diet pops did not have the same effects on weight and health as do naturally sweetened soft drinks.

“The unusual thing that needs comment is they (the study authors) say that the diet colas are the same as the calorically sweetened colas,” said Jenkins. “So I think that is the piece that they’ve put into this puzzle . . . I think we need a lot more scrutiny of that.”

Jenkins said he believes that high consumption of soft drinks likely goes along with eating a high-calorie diet.

“I think the disappointing thing is if you thought you were doing (yourself) a major service - which you always used to think - by taking diet drinks, this is not helping you,” he said. “Before we were saying take the diet (drink) and you’re OK. Now were saying: 'Watch it.”’

The study also begs the question whether there is some ingredient in soft drinks - regular or diet - that may encourage metabolic syndrome.[/i]

I’ll be taking the results with a grain of salt until more information arrives!

[quote]vroom wrote:
I’ll be taking the results with a grain of salt until more information arrives![/quote]

Are you kidding me? What is it about processed foods and drinks, not specifically formulated for health, that you are unsure of? Diet soda pop is just as crappy as diet frozen dinners, or any fast food that accompanies said beverage. Have you looked at the ingredients in soda pop? A lovely mixture of chemicals. Where in the world of natural home-grown foodstuffs will you find such an agglomeration of substances that are beneficial to our health, not to mention the health of our mouth? Cha-ching. Nowhere.

Thinking diet soda pop isn’t bad for you is the same as looking at Doritos and thinking “Hm, there’s real cheese on these, so there must be some nutritional value.” It’s preposterous. To not consider the obvious (soda pop is not good for you, regardless of it’s caloric content) is burying your head in the sand.

It kind of reminds me of this study from a couple of years ago.

June 13, 2005 – People who drink diet soft drinks don’t lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows.

The findings come from eight years of data collected by Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Fowler reported the data at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

“What didn’t surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity,” Fowler tells WebMD. “What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher.”

In fact, when the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.

“There was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day,” Fowler says.

More Diet Drinks, More Weight Gain
Fowler’s team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

26% for up to 1/2 can each day
30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%.

Diet Soda No Smoking Gun
Fowler is quick to note that a study of this kind does not prove that diet soda causes obesity. More likely, she says, it shows that something linked to diet soda drinking is also linked to obesity.

“One possible part of the explanation is that people who see they are beginning to gain weight may be more likely to switch from regular to diet soda,” Fowler suggests. “But despite their switching, their weight may continue to grow for other reasons. So diet soft-drink use is a marker for overweight and obesity.”

Why? Nutrition expert Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, puts it in a nutshell.

“You have to look at what’s on your plate, not just what’s in your glass,” Bonci tells WebMD.

People often mistake diet drinks for diets, says Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutrition consultant to college and professional sports teams and to the Pittsburgh Ballet.

“A lot of people say, 'I am drinking a diet soft drink because that is better for me. But soft drinks by themselves are not the root of America’s obesity problem,” she says. “You can’t go into a fast-food restaurant and say, ‘Oh, it’s OK because I had diet soda.’ If you don’t do anything else but switch to a diet soft drink, you are not going to lose weight.”

The Mad Hatter Theory
“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “It’s very easy to take more than nothing.” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

There is actually a way that diet drinks could contribute to weight gain, Fowler suggests.

She remembers being struck by the scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice is offended because she is offered tea but is given none – even though she hadn’t asked for tea in the first place. So she helps herself to tea and bread and butter.

That may be just what happens when we offer our bodies the sweet taste of diet drinks, but give them no calories. Fowler points to a recent study in which feeding artificial sweeteners to rat pups made them crave more calories than animals fed real sugar.

“If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, but it isn’t there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is something there and it will search for the calories promised but not delivered,” Fowler says.

Perhaps, Bonci says, our bodies are smarter than we think.

“People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn’t fooled,” she says. “If you are not giving your body those calories you promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite.”

awww … i love a nice cold diet coke here and now =)

[quote]kroby wrote:

Thinking diet soda pop isn’t bad for you is the same as looking at Doritos and thinking “Hm, there’s real cheese on these, so there must be some nutritional value.” It’s preposterous. [/quote]

True that.

Soda, whether diet or regular, has no place at all in a clean diet. Drink water. On your carb up days, drink beer. Preferably on tap.

[quote]kroby wrote:
Are you kidding me? What is it about processed foods and drinks, not specifically formulated for health, that you are unsure of? Diet soda pop is just as crappy as diet frozen dinners, or any fast food that accompanies said beverage. Have you looked at the ingredients in soda pop? A lovely mixture of chemicals. Where in the world of natural home-grown foodstuffs will you find such an agglomeration of substances that are beneficial to our health, not to mention the health of our mouth? Cha-ching. Nowhere.

Thinking diet soda pop isn’t bad for you is the same as looking at Doritos and thinking “Hm, there’s real cheese on these, so there must be some nutritional value.” It’s preposterous. To not consider the obvious (soda pop is not good for you, regardless of it’s caloric content) is burying your head in the sand.[/quote]

Relax Kroby. I didn’t say that diet soda was healthy, but the issues being discussed seem to be sugar and insulin related. You’ll need to provide more than ranting to prove that diet soda isn’t simply a cofactor for a sedentary lifestyle or other poor lifestyle habits.

Y’know, maybe some science?

For me, switching from regular soda to diet soda has had profound positive effects, but your mileage may vary.

read the study dude. What they are concluding is that the artificial sweeteners and colors can have the same effects on the pituitary gland and the brain and can thus trigger similar insulin production as the regular sugared drinks. No the science behind this is not fully complete, which is spelled out in the study. But what they have presented so far is pretty solid

[quote]vroom wrote:
Relax Kroby. I didn’t say that diet soda was healthy, but the issues being discussed seem to be sugar and insulin related. You’ll need to provide more than ranting to prove that diet soda isn’t simply a cofactor for a sedentary lifestyle or other poor lifestyle habits.

Y’know, maybe some science?[/quote]

Rant? The age of convenience, from which soda pop originates, has seen the increase of poor health choices.

“In 1962, research statistics showed that the percentage of obesity in America�??s population was at 13 percent. By 1980, it rose to 15 percent. By 1994, it was 23 percent and by the year 2000, the obesity progression in America had reached an unprecedented 31 percent,” according to American Sports Data (ASD) Inc." In 2000, 15 BILLION gallons of soda were sold in America. Care to consider when sodas were introduced into schools? Hmmmm? I saw them in 1987.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Obesity-Kills-300,000-Yearly&id=582269

Here’s two more for ya. Tooth decay and bone density:

“But sugar isn’t the only ingredient in soft drinks that causes tooth problems. The (phosphoric) acids in soda pop are also notorious for etching tooth enamel in ways that can lead to cavities. “Acid begins to dissolve tooth enamel in only 20 minutes,” notes the Ohio Dental Association in a release issued earlier this month” Phosphoric acid. You are drinking a 2% H3(PO)4 solution! Any bells going off yet?

and

[i]“Animal studies demonstrate that phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda, can deplete bones of calcium”

“A 1994 Harvard study of bone fractures in teenage athletes found a strong association between cola beverage consumption and bone fractures in 14-year-old girls. The girls who drank cola were about five times more likely to suffer bone fractures than girls who didn’t consume soda pop”[/i]

http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:Wsx9Pr_JxlwJ:www.americanchiropractic.net/general_%20interest/Statistics%20and%20Dangers%20of%20Soda%20.pdf+statistics+of+soda+consumption&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us

I understand you want science to prove soda pop is bad for you. Can’t you see the evidence without a proven hypothesis? If there’s smoke, there’s probably a fire.

I wasn’t ranting. I was flabbergasted at your nonchalant attitude.

So when the fat lady orders a Super Sized Extra Value meal with a diet coke, we can conclude that the diet coke is the cause of her “metabolic syndrome.”

Um… Okay…

Guess we should stop consuming protein powders and supplements due to their artificial sweetener/ingredient content.

I don’t buy that diet sodas alone facilitate obesity. Most diet soda drinkers use them to justify eating more overall. “I’m not drinking 300+ calories with my Super Sized Coke, so I can get large fries instead of regular”

And if it were the artificial sweeteners, what would explain the many people on this site who are in excellent shape health and physique-wise who regularly consume products such as Spike Shooter(which is, for all intents and purposes a soft-drink, complete with carbonation, artificial colors/sweeteners, and preservatives), protein powders and the like? Their regular use of protein powder alone would most likely be equal to a diet soda consumer’s artificial sweetener consumption. It’s in everything these days anyway, making it difficult to avoid.

I’ve recently begun drinking diet sodas and chewing sugar-free gum again, and my weight is going up as planned at the same rate as before. Still, I won’t lie in saying that this study does alarm me a little(if it is the diet sodas themselves that are to blame and not people using them as an excuse to eat more).

Eh I don’t care about not drinking sodas. Compared to my desire to acieve my fitness/ fat loss goals, ignoring a momentary desire for a soda is no prob. As a matter of fact I don’t care what I have to do to get where I am going. Whatever it is, I am going to do that thing.

[quote]robo1 wrote:
read the study dude. What they are concluding is that the artificial sweeteners and colors can have the same effects on the pituitary gland and the brain and can thus trigger similar insulin production as the regular sugared drinks. No the science behind this is not fully complete, which is spelled out in the study. But what they have presented so far is pretty solid[/quote]

No, I don’t think they are concluding that, they are suggesting that this may be the case based on their results that diet soda appears to be correlated with metabolic syndrome as is regular soda.

As another person has posted, it is also very possible that mainstream society chooses diet soda when they start to recognize the byproducts of metabolic syndrome (getting fat). If this is so, then the correlation may be meaningless with respect to determining a causative factor.

I do think that people are too quick to jump on the “bad for you” bandwagon based on their own personal beliefs. Food is a loaded subject that I think everyone gets protective about instinctively. It makes sense too given the importance of food and the fact that in the wild a poor food choice could poison you.

Just as people look for magic pills to help them achieve their goals, I think people also look for “poison pills” that cause all of our ills – so that we can eliminate them. Is diet soda “good for you”? I doubt it. Does that mean it’s “bad for you”?

The answer to that can depend on a lot of factors. Perhaps the regular consumption of caffeine within a sedentary lifestyle is a causative factor with respect to metabolic syndrome. Perhaps sweet flavors do cause the body to crave more food and individuals not controlling their diet will tend to eat more.

As far as I can tell, we just don’t know yet.

I think I’ll have a Diet Pepsi with lunch today in honor of this thread.

Some people are way to quick to jump to conclusions when the researchers themselves even said they didn’t know whether there was a causal relationship.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
So when the fat lady orders a Super Sized Extra Value meal with a diet coke, we can conclude that the diet coke is the cause of her “metabolic syndrome.”

Um… Okay…[/quote]

The article mentions that drinking soda, even diet soda, may be a marker of an unhealthy lifestyle, and not a cause in and of itself.

In essence, people that order an Extra Value Meal are more likely to drink soda - regular or diet - than a person who eats clean. It makes sense to me.

That also means that not drinking diet soda won’t fix the problem. On the other hand, if you make the necessary changes to fix the problem, you may be more likely to give up diet soda, as well.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Does that mean it’s “bad for you”?

As far as I can tell, we just don’t know yet.[/quote]

“Hello, McFly!”

It’s not about diet soda being healthy or not healthy. It’s about the mechanism by which diet soda promotes weight gain. Something that is not understood. No one even has a decent hypothesis about it. Hell, it has zero calories.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything in diet soda that inherently promotes weight gain. It’s the food that people eat with diet soda. Ie. Extra value meal with diet pepsi. Or drink. Jack & diet coke [X ten]. I’ve never noticed any difference in controlling weight when consuming diet soda or artifical sweeteners than not.

I think the insulin response theory is bunk too. I know plenty of diabetics who down diet soda and regularly test their blood sugar levels, and it doesn’t change them on iota. Again, I’m not saying the chemicals in it aren’t harmful in other ways.