Diet Soda Leaves Your Gut Unsatisfied, Contributes To Obesity

Heather Johnson - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 10:08 p.m. ET

Many people drink diet soda to lose weight or to avoid gaining weight. However, drinking diet soda can make you fat, leading to obesity and its associated problems, says a new study published in the June 2012 issue of FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

Previous research has discovered a link between consuming diet soda and being overweight or obese. For example, one study found that individuals who drink a diet soda two or more times a day had a five times increase in waist circumference over a period of 10 years compared to individuals who did not drink any diet soda. The reason for the association between diet soda and weight gain was previously unknown.

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However, researchers at the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health in Zürich, Switzerland recently assessed the impact of dietary energy (sugar) on gut microbial communities (microbes in the intestines) and metabolism.

According to the study, consuming high amounts of fructose (a type of sugar), artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) significantly changed the microbes in the gut that are responsible for signalling satiety and for metabolism. Additionally, drinking artificially sweetened diet soda can make your body crave sugar.

In other words, drinking diet soda causes your body to think that you are never full and to slow down your metabolism, both of which can lead to obesity.

As reported on Today Health, Amanda Payne, PhD and lead author of the research, comments, “An evolution of the gut flora to this new sweetener-rich environment has a potential to negatively impact our health.”

Payne, herself, says that she tries to stay away from foods that might damage the balance of the microbes in her gut:

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“I will say from a personal perspective that I don’t drink sodas–diet or regular–and I rarely eat processed foods, especially if they have high-fructose corn syrup listed on their label.”

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Diet soda in large quantities negatively impacts the composition of the microbes in the intestines. More research needs to be conducted on the effects of only one diet soda per day. However, as always, your best bet for good health is to consume diet soda in moderation.

Will the results of this study affect the amount of diet soda that you drink?


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