A recent study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society states that diet soda may lead to the increase of belly fat, especially for older persons.
Researchers analyzed data from 749 adults over the age of 65 from the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. They discovered that, over the course of almost a decade, those who consumed diet soda daily saw the increase of their waist circumferences being more than double compared to non-diet soda drinkers.
In the research, diet soda drinkers’ waist circumferences grew 2.11 centimeters over the 10-year period, while non-diet soda drinkers’ waists only increased 0.77 centimeters. Those who drank diet soda occasionally saw a 1.83 centimeter expansion in weight circumference.
Oddly, the scientists did not revealed any consistent relationship between drinking regular soda and waist circumference, even though previous studies had linked sugar-sweetened sodas with weight gain.
Among other health risks, large waist circumference has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cognitive decline, depression and death from cancer or cardiovascular disease, As people get older, they are more vulnerable to expanding waistlines, but also have more visceral fat, the type of fat that can have a greater negative health impact. This kind of fat covers the intestines and crucial abdominal organs like the liver or pancreas.
The ingredient of soda that causes weight gain and its collateral health risks is phosphoric acid, which is found in most diet and regular sodas. Sharon P.G. Fowler, co-author of the study and a specialist in medicine and epidemiology at The University of Texas at San Antonio, believes that regular and diet sodas have similar acidity levels. The only reason people drink diet soda is that the fact that they have a smaller number of calories, but the conclusion that diet soda are “healthier” is wrong.
Diet sodas don’t have most of the harmful sugar contained in regular sodas, but the phosphoric acid in them is linked to an entire list of health problems.
The Calorie Control Council, an international association which represents the low and reduced-calorie beverage and food industry, announced that the study can’t prove the cause and effect, and that is only an indicator to a possible association between diet soda and weight gain.
Experts advise that instead of diet and regular soda, people should try drinking unsweetened coffee, mineral water, tea or fruit juice.
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