Diet Sodas & Diabetes: The Risk
Diabetes is a difficult disease to manage due to the requirement on each person to monitor their food intake. Drinks in particular carry hidden dangers for everyone because many have added sweeteners, but this is especially true for diabetics. Soda remains one of the more popular beverages in the United States. It is estimated that Americans drink at least one soda per day. Doctors and nutritionists alike suggest that diabetics avoid soda entirely or at the bare minimum drink diet soda due to the non-sugar ingredients in the beverage. Recently, however, it has been suggested that diabetics should choose to drink healthier alternatives such as sparkling water or tea as soda of all kinds contributes to weight gain while artificial sweeteners present in diet sodas do not help individuals with diabetes.
One study conducted at the University of Texas looked at older adults and on measuring their intake of diet soda, found that a rise in body fat and weight gain was in direct proportion to their soda intake. Researchers found there was no definitive difference in the expanded waistlines if an individual with diabetes was drinking regular soda or diet soda. In fact many of the participants who stated that they consumed diet soda were found to have substantial weight gain of up to 70% over a 9.5 year period. Researchers found that diabetics who consumed diet sodas regularly could have a potential waistline growth of 500% greater than those who consumed it less often or not at all.
Despite the results of the experiment, the data did not suggest why diet soda plays a significant role in an individual’s weight gain; whether they are diabetic or not, but it did suggest a correlation between weight increase and diet soda. When an individual consumes diet soda, the brain is expecting to receive calories from the soda and because this kind of soda has little to no nutritional or calorific value, the brain does not receive what it is expecting. This causes confusion in the brain thereby creating an insatiable appetite in the diabetic who then eats more. Diet soda, in essence, makes the diabetic hungry as they have not received the proper nutrients or calories from the diet soda.
There have been many different experiments conducted to suggest that diet soda and weight gain in diabetics are not linked but the predominant research results suggest that there is a correlation. Most diet sodas contain aspartame or saccharin and the two seem to work similarly in the body in terms of how the body “reads” them in digestion. These artificial sugars are still broken down as normal sugars are. The diet soda then is not really diet at all according to research. Many nutritionists have suggested alternatives such as tea, energy water and the like as opposed to diet soda because they do not contain artificial sweeteners and offer vitamins and nutritional value to the diabetic. These become healthier choices for the diabetic as they quench the thirst and do not encourage the weight gain that has been found to be added when diet soda is consumed.
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