Is Diet Soda Bad For You? Diet Soda Weight Gain.
In my early years in the health and fitness field, nothing changed the landscape as much as the onset of diet sodas. Even more popular than diet supplements, diet soda has become a ubiquitous addition to everyone’s attempts to lose weight- but is diet soda bad for you and can you end up with a weight gain from diet soda? Like so many others, growing up as a teenager in my native island of Trinidad, I saw diet sodas as a perfect solution to the problem of not having anything sweet in my diet while trying to get into peak shape. A sugar free, and almost zero calorie drink that I could have guilt and worry free seemed almost too good to be true and in the eyes of my bodybuilding coaches at the time, old timers all of them, it was.
Several of my coaches surmised that if the brain perceives what is being consumed as sugar, then the body will respond with a concurrent spike in insulin levels; An insulin spike that thus sets in motion the body’s fat storage mechanisms and a potential for weight gain. At the time, I was not completely convinced by his argument but I heeded their advice nonetheless- after all, I had seen first hand what their personal training clients looked like and they had dispelled many a myth I had held in the past about health and fitness so I saw no reason to distrust their instincts.
Diet Soda Weight Gain- Studies Show That Diet Soda Can Increase Insulin Levels
As the years went on, studies indeed began to surface that even though there is no actual glucose in a diet soda, the body still secretes insulin in response to consuming what it perceives as a sugary drink, much in the way that Pavlov’s dog would salivate at the sound of a bell after being fed a tasty treat every time a bell would ring. So in the end, the old timers were indeed on to something!
I would also add that diet sodas are just about as artificial a food product as is humanly possible and thus in no way could ever be a natural part of a human diet. My belief has always been that processed foods always create problems in the human body and our growing obesity epidemic here in the United States and in developed countries continues to highlight the fact that our modern food products are not compatible with our physiology. It’s hard to compare an apple, which we as humans have evolved over the course of over countless thousands of years to harmoniously derive essential micronutrients, carbohydrates and fiber with a diet soda. The term ‘diet’ may be a great marketing tool to help us not be wary of a potential long term health hazard but the more we reflect on where we are and where we are going as a species the more obvious it becomes that such food products are best avoided. Our great-great grandparents didn’t have soda of any kind, much less the diet variety and they also didn’t have problems with obesity and the slew of preventable diet related diseases that come with it.
Diet Soda And Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is estimated to affects one in five women over the age of 50 in the United States and among the potential causes is a high dietary phosphorous intake. Phosphates have been shown to deplete calcium and are considered a factor in osteoporosis. Where would such high levels of phosphorous come from- you guessed it- carbonated beverages. Other countries (usually poorer ones) where the populations does not consume as much dairy products or supplemented calcium as we do here in America do not have such alarmingly high rates of osteoporosis as compared does the U.S. and other developed countries. One theory lays the blame on squarely on America’s number one drink- soda, and its kissing cousin, the highly fashionable diet soda.
Diet Soda Long Term Weight Gain From Reinforcing The Bad Habit Of Consuming Sugary Drinks
There are other behavior related reasons why diet sodas can bring about weight gain and are bad for you without even touching on the health questions raised by the long term ingestion of artificial sweeteners and that is the fact that it prevents a progression towards healthy eating habits. I have in my own personal training practice that clients who trained consistently and avoided the use of diet soda had an easier time making the transition toward consistently better eating choices than those consuming diet sodas regularly (the same applies for those that drink high levels of caffeinated beverages as well- but that’s another article.) In order to stop consuming a particular food it is important that we learn to forget about it and replace their tastes with those of healthier varieties. By keeping diet soda in your diet that switch away from needing something sweet on a regular basis never has a chance to go away and thus it becomes all the more difficult to eat well on a consistent basis.
Even among my clients that ate well but still consumed diet soda, they never seem to make as much progress in terms of weight loss and body fat reduction as the ones that cut them out completely- an interesting piece of information for anyone serious about getting into their best shape.
Diet Soda Is Not Part Of A Long Term Strategy For Getting In Shape
It may not be a scientifically validated double blind study, but it is what I have seen over the course of almost twenty years as a personal trainer- and it makes sense. Being able to make good food choices requires a gradual movement away from things that are simply not good for you, and by drinking diet soda, you are continue the behavior of accepting that sugary taste as something positive as opposed to working to accustom yourself to the tastes of foods that are indeed good for you.
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Kevin Richardson- celebrity Personal Trainer New York City is the creator of Naturally Intense™ High Intensity Training, a lifetime natural bodybuilder, head of Naturally Intense™ Personal Trainers NYC and one of the most sought after personal trainer in NYC.