Sometimes, going for diet sodas instead of the regular ones may cut out some calories. However a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that increased diet soda intake is associated to a bigger belly in adults 65 years of age and older. Drinking soda has long been linked to belly fat. While diet soda is meant to be a healthier alternative, a new study indicates that they may actually lead to more belly fat. Artificial sweeteners are the main ingredient that has caused concern amongst researchers. The study below just breaks the barrier on the artificial sweetener debate. Researchers are still unsure of why the sweetener causes the body to retain so much weight. Another recent study may hold the answer. The study, conducted last fall, showed that artificial sweeteners actually changed gut bacteria. This bacteria is known to help the body digest food and aids the metabolism. Acidity levels may be causing the bacteria shift in the body.
Drinking Diet Soda Linked to a Widening Waistline with Age
By Kathryn Doyle
(Reuters Health) – People over age 65 who drink diet soda daily tend to expand their waistlines by much more than peers who prefer other beverages, possibly contributing to chronic illnesses that go along with excess belly fat, according to a new study.
Research in other age groups has directly associated drinking sodas that replace sugar with artificial sweeteners and increased risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and preterm birth, said lead author Dr. Sharon P.G. Fowler of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The new study only observed people over time, and did not test whether drinking diet soda actually caused gains in abdominal fat, she cautioned. “We can’t prove causality but there is quite a consistency in observational studies,” Fowler told Reuters Health
For older people, who are already at increased risk for heart and metabolic diseases, increasing belly fat with age just adds to health risk, Fowler and her colleagues write.
People who reported not drinking diet soda gained an average of 0.8 inches in waist circumference over the nine-year period compared to 1.83 inches for occasional diet soda drinkers and more than three inches for people who drank diet soda every day, according to the results online March 17 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The authors had taken other factors like physical activity, diabetes and smoking into account.
“It cannot be explained by the calories,” said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study.
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