By now, most of us understand that drinking soda on a regular basis can impede our weight-loss goals, but what about diet soda? Since there’s no “real sugar” added to diet soda, isn’t it a good option to quell a sweet craving and therefore, lose weight?
According to new research, diet soda is not helpful when it comes to weight loss.
How Artificial Sugar in Diet Soda Can Make It Harder to Lose Weight
While many of us have turned to diet soda at one time or another in an attempt to keep our cravings for sugary sweets at bay, recent studies suggest that our brains react to artificial sweeteners the same way they react to regular sweets: the more artificial sweeteners we ingest, the more our bodies crave sweetness, which could increase the likelihood of giving into temptation and eating that extra brownie or cookie.
A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health goes a step further, with researchers explaining that their survey results showed “overweight and obese adults drank more diet beverages than healthy-weight adults,” and overweight adults who drank diet soda ended up consuming more calories via food than overweight adults who drank regular soda.
Artificial sweeteners can also be as addicting as regular sugar, which means once you start a diet soda habit, it can be hard to kick.
So while more research needs to be done to find a definitive connection between diet soda and obesity, if you’re someone who frequently craves sweets, diet soda may actually push you to give into your cravings more, not less.
And just because one study showed that diet soda was more connected to added calories than regular soda doesn’t mean you should opt for a full-sugar cola, either. Eating too much sugar can cause insulin spikes, which, over time, can increase belly fat and overeating.
Diet Soda Alternatives
When it comes to weight loss, instead of opting for a quick fix in the form of diet soda, focus instead on habits that can provide long-term benefits: Infusing water with frozen fruit is a great way to stay hydrated without consuming excess calories or tons of extra sugar; reaching for naturally flavored seltzer instead of soda gives you that carbonated sensation without artificial sweeteners; and allowing yourself a small, homemade treat here and there — instead of trying to cope with cravings by overindulging in diet products — can help keep you on track.
Making a real commitment to long-term healthy changes, including maintaining a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet, is what is truly going to bring success. Your ideal weight is definitely within your reach, just take it one committed step at a time!