NUTRITION&FOOD Published March18, 2015 By Staff Writer

Diet Soda Can Really Make You Fat

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Diet Sodas May Create Same Heart Attack Risk As Regular Sodas
(Photo : Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News)

If you want to lose or maintain your weight, scrap all forms of soda-yes, including diet drinks.

Many people are now shifting from regular to diet beverages, believing that they are drinking fewer calories. However, a new study by University of Texas Health Science Center says otherwise: you can gain 3 times as much as a non-drinker in your waist.

The research, which can now be read in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looks into the effects of drinking diet sodas regularly (i.e., on a daily basis) especially among seniors or those who are already 65 years old and above.

The study began in the 1990s and ended in 2004. It was participated by more than 745 men and women who are of European American and Mexican descents and were at least 65 years between 1992 and 1996. During the initial phase, their vital measurements including the circumference of the waist were obtained. Three follow-ups were then made in the remaining duration. In the last follow-up, only 375 or 71% of the volunteers were alive.

During the analyses in which they compared the vital measurements obtained in every follow-up and among the participants, the researchers discovered that those who regularly drank diet sodas gained 2.11 cm, a huge difference from less than a centimeter among the non-drinkers. If other factors are considered, the centimeter remains almost the same for non-users. Those who are avid drinkers, however, have a much bigger waistline at 3.04 centimeters.

One of the biggest issues is that much of the fat is deposited in the waist, which means men and women who drink diet sodas are prone to belly fat, a common precursor to metabolic syndromes. People who have a bigger waist are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Some types of cancer are also attributed to belly fat.

Although the study doesn't focus on the causal relationship, the researchers recommend cutting back on artificial sweeteners that are also found in diet sodas.  

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