Many people think that drinking diet soda will help them satisfy their sweet tooth and maybe even lose a few pounds.
But a brand-new study just found that these artificially sweetened beverages actually STIMULATE your cravings and SABOTAGE your metabolism.
Worse yet? They seem to cause the most harm in people already struggling with obesity…and in women!
Here’s why I never recommend these toxic drinks…
Diet sodas can cause a lot of harm
For this new study out of the University of Southern California, researchers sorted 74 participants into three groups (normal weight, overweight, and obese) and brought them into the lab for three separate visits.
On their first visit, all the men and women drank 300 milliliters (mL) of a beverage sweetened with table sugar. (That’s a little less than the sugar found in one can of soda.) On the second visit, they drank 300 mL of a beverage sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose. And on the third visit, they drank water.
After each visit, the researchers took blood samples from the participants to measure blood sugar and metabolic hormones that stimulate hunger and food cravings. They also took magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the participants’ brains to examine the regions involved in appetite and food cravings. Lastly, they tracked how much the participants ate at a buffet table at the end of each study session.
Well, they came away with some very interesting observations…
After drinking just one 300 mL beverage sweetened with sucralose:
- Obese men and women—and healthy weight women—showed a spike in activity in the areas of the brain associated with hunger and food cravings.
- All the men and women in the study experienced a decline in hormones associated with satiety (or “feeling full”).
- All the women ate more at the snack buffet.
These findings show that artificial sweeteners like sucralose clearly increase hunger, decrease satiety, and cause food cravings. Meaning, yes, they can clearly cause people to feel the urge to eat more…not less!
Dr. Kathleen Page, one of the study authors, said:
By studying different groups, we were able to show females and people with obesity may be more sensitive to artificial sweeteners. For these groups, drinking artificially sweetened drinks may trick the brain into feeling hungry, which may in turn result in more calories being consumed.
In other words, PEOPLE WHO NEED THE MOST HELP reaching a healthy weight are actually the ones MOST HARMED by “diet” drinks and snack foods.
So—what’s the answer?
As I recently reported, to achieve long-term health and maintain a healthy weight, you must cut out the ultra-processed foods filled with hidden carbs and sugars—such as low-fat, flavored yogurts and granola bars with added fiber. And that includes anything with artificial sweeteners, too!
Instead, strive to follow a sensible, enjoyable Mediterranean-type diet filled with whole foods, natural fats, and natural fibers that help fuel your cells, balance blood sugar, and support healthy probiotics in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
As a quick reminder, here’s a list of foods you can—and should—enjoy on the healthy, Mediterranean-type diet:
- Full-fat, whole-milk dairy, including butter, eggs, cheeses, and plain yogurt. (Remember, in the Mediterranean, they typically eat cheese as the after-meal “treat,” and desserts are small and rare.)
- Wild-caught fish and seafood.
- Grass-fed and -finished, free-range, organic beef, chicken, and especially lamb.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.
You also want to aim to take in about a cup of liquid every two hours. Even though I never recommend diet soda, there are many different types of beverages you CAN enjoy, including: spring water (bottled in glass at the source), herbal infusions, herbal teas, coconut water, full-fat milk, coffee, and alcohol (in moderation).