It is widely understood that sugar sweetened soft drinks are a causative factor in weight gain, due to the additional fructose they can supply to the diet. However it is less widely understood that diet beverage may also have detrimental effects on body weight. The exact reason for this in not clear, but some evidence suggests that the artificial sweeteners they contain my alter appetite in a subtle way, and this may increase the consumption of sugar from other sources. Therefore those that consume diet beverages may be at increased risk of weight gain compared to those who consume drinks free from non-calorific sweeteners. Researchers have compared the effects of water compared to non-calorific diet soft drinks on weight loss during a 24 week period. The results of the study showed that both groups experienced weight loss and had improvements in cardiovascular risk factors. However, there were differences between the two groups in terms of the body weight loss that they experienced.
In particular, the water group lost more body weight (-8.8 kg) compared to the diet soft drink group. The fasting insulin concentrations and the insulin sensitivity of the water group were also improved significantly more in the water group compared to the diet drink groups. This suggests that the water group may have had improvements in insulin sensitivity, that in turn lowered fasting insulin levels and this subsequently increased weight loss by allowing a catabolic state to predominate. Insulin is a strong anabolic signal and the raised levels of insulin seen in the obese are a potential inhibitor of fat oxidation. Removing the inhibitory effect of insulin, through improvements in insulin sensitivity, facilitate fat loss. Therefore it appears that for some reason, diet non-calorific artificially sweetened soft drinks may have some detrimental effects on insulin sensitivity. Based on this, current recommendations would be to replace all types of soft drinks with alternatives such as water or tea if weight loss is a priority.
Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself