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Old 05-14-2017, 07:05 AM   #1
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Post New study: Possible explanation for diet soda weight gain

/insert usual caveats about rat studies and needed verification with follow-up studies

We know that there is an association between drinking diet soda and obesity. I always figured it was most likely explained by diet sodas being chosen by folks who feel they need to lose weight. But for years, I have been concerned that there might be some other reason(s) contributing to the association due to the sweeteners. I have been concerned because I do enjoy diet soda though at this point I don't drink it every day. Could there be some response triggered by tasting the sweetness? Could some specific sweeteners trigger a response in the stomach?

It looks like there is actually a direct reason that diet soda would cause weight gain -- but the same effect would apply to unsweetened seltzer and carbonated water. Apparently, the CO2 greatly increases gherlin.

BTW, some people advise dieters to drink non-sweetened carbonated beverages to help stay on plan because the bubbles help expand the stomach, providing one of the fullness cues. I think this is true, but apparently this fullness effect is more than offset by the ghrelin, which may kick in later.

I would like to see more studies because single studies don't provide a large body of evidence and I find it hard to believe that rats drinking flat sweetened soda had no weight gain. I'd also like to see them include flat artificially sweetened soda and plain carbonated water in studies for completeness. BTW, I do still think there may still be other reasons contributing to the diet soda association with obesity. For example, I think that drinking highly-sweetened diet soda can train one's palate to expect high levels of sweetness in foods. That said, it really hasn't been a problem for me. =)

Here's an article and the actual study.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:41 PM   #2
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I think the main problem with diet soda is that (like you said at the end of your post) it'll cause you to prefer sweet foods, and may cause you to eat a less healthy diet throughout the rest of the day. Diet soda also won't save you any calories because it won't fill you up, so you'll compensate by eating something else. Another problem is that some artificial sweeteners may cause cancer (although that's probably not what causes the weight gain).

This is my first time hearing about ghrelin, so I'd be interested in seeing more studies done.

Luckily soda has never been a problem for me. Since I was young I've hated the taste of all soda.

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Old 05-15-2017, 06:46 AM   #3
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Aside from issues that people might have with the sweeteners themselves, I looked into the potential carcinogen studies (mouse studies showed an effect; rat studies didn't). It's a byproduct of the caramel coloring used in brown sodas, as well as some other foods such as some gravies and soy sauces. The amount present varies widely by brand. California (only, not where I live) set a limit, so all soda sold in CA is pretty low (they must use other coloring agents in that state). My favorite is Diet Dr Pepper which does have some of the chemical present. It's not the lowest but still relatively low (about the limit set by CA). A few kinds of Pepsi were quite high and Malta Goya was even higher.

I now switch up my diet Dr Pepper with a clear stevia sweetened Ginger Root Beer (Zevia brand). My consumption varies, but on a normal day I don't drink either. However, when I do feel like drinking a diet soda, they really hit the spot!

Honestly, I haven't noticed any increased hunger from any ghrelin boost, but maybe that's just due to my own eating schedule. I am really hoping to see some follow-up studies soon. But what I'm doing seems to be working for me, so I doubt it will have much effect on my behavior.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:40 PM   #4
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My personal experience. I find the studies about diet soda interesting. I started drinking diet soda when it first came out, in 1964 and have been drinking it continuously since. The artificial sweeteners used have changed over the years. When I first started drinking it I was thin, and chose diet soda to help keep the weight off, and it did. It kept me from getting hungry. I think changing the artificial sweeteners may have changed the effects it has on the body. I don't think I gained weight from diet soda. After I got married my lifestyle changed and I started eating more, thus, weight gain. I don't like sweets and choose Diet Coke rather than Pepsi because I feel that Pepsi is sweeter. It doesn't make me crave sweets, and it doesn't make me hungry. Unfortunately, I am never hungry. I am a compulsive over eater and never go long enough without food to experience hunger. I'm constantly working on that!

I think the reason for the results of the studies is because most people who drink diet soda are doing so for weigh reasons. Therefore, they are people who already crave sweets and overeat. I don't think the diet soda is causing it, but we are all different.

I don't drink as much diet soda as I used to and am trying to drink more water instead, but I don't see me ever stopping diet soda unless it's taken off the market.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:06 AM   #5
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I'm a diet soda drinker. I drank diet soda since I was 11 or 12, since I was a bit chubby and my mom wanted me on diet foods. I think I was 130 lbs and 5'2 at the time, (my mom is a little crazy about weight and had body dysmorphia). I've drank diet soda in middle school where I was 130's, highschool in the 140's, undergrad in the 120's, and now graduate school in my fat pants, the 160's. I don't think diet soda has been a huge contributor in my weight since I've been drinking it whether I was a size 4 or a size 14. In fact, I drink less diet soda than I did when I was thinner. I'm not saying diet soda is good for you, and I might even agree it makes you prefer sweet foods. But I don't see a correlation between diet soda & weight gain in my life at least.

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Old 09-01-2017, 01:42 AM   #6
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I have friends who were doing a diet (Cohen, I think? Not sure) and they were allowed to drink one bottle or can of Coke Zero a day. So I think it's all about moderation. As with all things.


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