Diet sodas are popular. Why? Because people believe that they are healthier. They also believe that they have fewer calories, making them ideal for weight loss. Question is: can taking diet soda really help you lose weight? This is what a new study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal sought to answer.
A couple of University of Manitoba scientists decided to analyze over 37 studies that followed over 400,000 test subjects. These studies tracked the health of these habitual artificial sweetener users for over a decade. And after going through the data that was collected in 7 randomized clinical trials and more, here is what they found out.
In 6 months, diet sodas and other artificial sweeteners don’t show any weight loss benefit
This was the conclusion that they arrived at after analyzing the data of clinical trials that conducted for 6 months. In all of them, there were no significant gains reported by the people who chose artificial sweeteners.
In the long term, diet sodas are bad for you if you want to lose weight
It turns out that it has all been a myth that people have fallen for. A myth that has been perpetuated by manufacturers with the sole aim of reaping huge profits from gullible members of the public.
Here is what Dr. Ryan Zarychanski, an assistant professor in the University of Manitoba had to say about the study that they had conducted:
“ We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management.”
In their study, they realized that sticking to products that contained artificial sweeteners in fact led to significant gains in body mass index and overall weight.
The “sugar-free” alternatives are way worse than you thought
The review of various studies conducted on the effect of products with sugar-free alternatives like saccharin, aspartame and sucralose also found that these products were far from healthy.
In the long run, they don’t just cause weight gain. They do much worse. They also increase the risks of serious health conditions. Some of the conditions that were linked to diet sodas and other products containing the so-called “sugar-free” alternatives include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Other chronic health problems
If you are into artificial sweeteners, and if you think they are a guilt-free way of indulging a sweet tooth, you should keep Dr. Meghan Azad’s (of the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba) words of caution in mind:
“ Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks of and benefits of these products.”
Given the findings of the study, she and her team have embarked on a new study trying to determine the effect of these sweeteners on pregnant women. They want to find out if they have an effect on gut bacteria and metabolism in infants. So, if you are expecting, maybe it is time to hold off your “sugar-free” favorites.
This study concluded that artificial sweeteners, like those contained in “sugar-free” products like diet soda, are no good as far as weight loss is concerned. In fact, the data shows that they make things worse. And worse still, they will likely leave you with long-term health effects. Rethinking your weight loss strategy may therefore be a good idea.