Two new studies have found that even diet sodas can make you gain weight and become fat.
The studies were presented Saturday (June 25) at the meeting of the American Diabetes Association.
The first study looked into data from 474 participants of the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA), a large population-based study of the disablement process in elderly Mexican Americans and European Americans.
Measures of height, weight, waist size and diet soda intake were recorded at the SALSA enrollment and then again at three follow-up exams over the following ten years.
The study discovered that people who drank two or more diet sodas daily had their waist size increase six times greater than people who did not drink diet soda at all.
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A second study from the University of Texas found that aspartame, a sweetener frequently used in diet soda, increased blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone mice.
Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised... they may be free of calories, but not of consequences, stated study researcher Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D.
A study published earlier this year found that people who drink beverages (diet or regular) daily have higher chances of suffering strokes and heart attacks.
In the United States, the number of people who consume foods with artificial sweeteners (like diet soda) has doubled to 160 million during the past 20 years.