Recently we posted a blog about the concerns associated with sugary soft drinks and bone health. Experts have also weighed in on the concerns regarding consumption of “diet” soft drinks. Sharon Fowler, a specialist in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio said, “The fact that it has zero calories does not mean it has no consequences. If you’re overweight and drinking diet sodas, there’s an even greater risk of weight gain than being overweight and not drinking them.” How can drinking something with zero calories increase the likelihood of weight gain? Fowler explains that taste matters in our body’s adeptness at figuring out how many calories we have. “Disrupting that makes it harder for the body to figure out. Sweet tastes tend to be caloric, which kicks off metabolism. But if a sweet taste comes in and there’s nothing to burn, the body learns not to rev up.” She believes the slowed metabolism can lead to the body searching out more food all the time.
Not all experts agree with Fowler. Dietician Marilyn Schorin, who is a consultant to the American Beverage Association says she would not drink diet sodas if she thought they were unhealthy. Schorin referred to a Harvard study in which participants who drank a diet soda daily cut calories by 100 and lost weight over three years. “That showed people didn’t compensate by saying, I’ll eat more of something else,” said Schorin. Still, she adds that people who drink diet sodas should be mindful of the quantity they drink. “Diet sodas are not a permission slip to eat whatever you want.” Kind of like ordering a cheeseburger and fries, but having a diet coke with it….. Philadelphia Enquirer 12/12/12