It’s the New Year and no doubt many of us are dieting. You may have switched out that full sugar fizzy drink for diet drinks. However, they may not actually help you achieve any of your weight-loss goals.
We’re not going to tell you that you’re better opting for Coca Cola instead of Diet Coke. A 500ml bottle of full sugar cola weighs in at around 200 calories. With a lot of diet drinks only accumulating to one calorie, it’s no wonder why people think it’s sure fire way to cut out some calorie consumption.
However, a fresh review by Imperial College London has argued there is “no solid evidence” that diet drinks are any better for weight-loss than full-sugar drinks. Groups of scientists have even argued that low-calorie sweeteners in diet drinks may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Experts are urging people to accept that there is no evidence to prove drinking low calorie drinks will have a positive affect on weight-loss. There is even belief that the sweeteners used in these drinks may actually cause weight-gain.
When sugar hits the tongue it gives us that delicious hit of sweetness, but also tells the body that food is on the way. However, with zero-calorie sweeteners that same message is sent, but no food arrives. The argument is the link between sweetness and calories has been broken. Aspartame is one of the best known low-calorie sweeteners, but is also the most controversial. It has been linked to a variety of issues, including cancer and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. This is a sweetener very commonly found in diet drinks.
Could casting out sugar and opting for diet drinks be opening a window for chemicals that could cause greater issues?
A review, which included researchers funded by the food industry, of the evidence on low-energy sweeteners showed people lost weight when asked to replace sugary drinks with diet ones. It showed they lost around 1.2kg on average when people were on the diet for between four and 40 months. Roughly the same as for switching to water. While consuming lower calorie drinks did reduce energy intake and body weight, the people consuming the diet drinks also ended up eating more food.
While there is no conclusive proof to the use of low-calorie drinks in weight-loss, it can be said that they are useful in cutting out calories. Drinking water is the best way to hydrate the body. But, it has been suggested that there may be a way of using low-calorie drinks as a way to wean someone off full sugar drinks, before transitioning completely to water.
What are your thoughts on diet drinks? Do you think they promote or hinder weight-loss?