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Does Diet Soda Cause Belly Fat?

by
author image Lisa Simonson
Lisa Simonson first began her professional writing career in 2008 with a company in Dallas, Texas. Her previous work has been featured in both local and national health-care publications. Simonson received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a minor certification in mass communications from the University of Minnesota.
Does Diet Soda Cause Belly Fat?
A close up of a glass of diet cola. Photo Credit Inga Dronsutaviciene/iStock/Getty Images

Diet soda seems like the perfect drink, all of the flavor of soda, but with zero calories -- a dieter's dream. In reality diet soda is a far from perfect drink. Diet soda is packed with artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Drinking diet soda regularly may ultimately cause you to gain weight, but no one factor can be attributed to weight gain.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners have become a popular substitute for sugar due to the lower calorie count. One teaspoon of regular sugar contains about 16 calories. Regular soft drinks have about eight teaspoons of sugar. You can eliminate those calories by substituting sugar with artificial sweetener. Some varieties of artificial sweeteners are actually made from sugar, making the taste very similar.

Sugar Cravings

Although diet sodas have very few or even no calories, it may still be a culprit of weight gain. The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas may trigger sugar cravings. Teasing your taste buds with diet soda's sweetness triggers the body to expect a shot of glucose, Purdue University researchers claim. When the expected dose of sugar doesn't arrrive, the body begins to crave it, which you'll likely satisfy with sugary food, researchers allege. Drinking diet soda apparently contributes to making unhealthy choices throughout your day, sabotaging your effort in losing weight.

Substitutions

If you are concerned about gaining weight you should consider cutting down on the amount of diet soda you drink. Although studies are inconclusive, there are healthier beverage options with more nutrients. Healthier substitutions include fresh juice, milk or water. Try adding cucumbers or lemon to your water for more flavor. If you drink soda for the caffeine content, consider an alternative caffeine source. Coffee and tea are both sources containing caffeine. Tea is lower in caffeine and closer to the amount found in diet sodas.

Safety and Long-Term Health

When it comes to diet soda and weight gain, your best bet is to drink it in moderation. Diet soda consumption is linked to a number of health complications including obesity. Drinking diet soda will not benefit your overall health, as it is not rich in vitamins or nutrients. Try to avoid soda consumption, diet or regular, from becoming part of your daily routine.

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