Home Life Style Researchers are investigating the link between diet drinks and obesity

Researchers are investigating the link between diet drinks and obesity

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Diet drinks are trendy, but there is controversy regarding their role of preventing obesity. According to an article published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, diet drinks are not helpful in the fight against obesity, on the contrary , it seems that they in fact encourage overeating. To clarify this controversy, Susan Swithers analyzed several studies showing that overweight people who consumed drinks with artificial sweeteners are more prone to gain weight than people who do not consume these beverages.

Comparing two separate groups of teenagers, it was shown that beverages with artificial sweetener were associated with increased body mass index and body fat. In other words, these drinks do not help people to keep fit and on the contrary may even be harmful. According to Swithers, this association may actually be a case of “reverse causality “, that is people who are genetically predisposed to obesity are more likely to consume drinks with artificial sweeteners to limit their calories. Thus, according to this theory, it appears that it is not the fact that consuming low calorie drinks leads to obesity, but the predisposition to obesity causes people to consume such beverages.

diet drink

A randomised prospective study should be performed to exclude the possibility reverse causality. For the results to be conclusive, there should be recruited about 200 volunteers and divided randomly into two groups: a group receiving only sugared drinks and a group receiving only diet drinks, to see the effects of these drinks on their body weight . The article points out a study which included 641 participants. The study was conducted over a period of 18 months during which participants consumed daily either a single diet drink or a single sugared drink. At the end of the study, it was found that those who consumed diet drinks gained less weight and body fat than those who drank sugared drink. This shows that the association between obesity and diet drinks is actually a case of reverse causality : obese people are more prone to consume diet drinks.

On the other hand, a study by the same author published in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience, showed that there were no differences in terms of weight gain between rats that received yoghurt supplements sweetened with saccharin and rats that received yoghurt sweetened with glucose. But when the rats were fed the ” Western ” high -fat , high- sugar diet , those receiving yogurt with artificial sweeteners put on more weight. In addition, it appears that these effects were more greater in rats prone to diet -induced obesity. Also, this research explains why the prospective study did not demonstrate the hypothesis : the study participants did not have a high -energy diet. Even though there are still many questions to be answered regarding these diet drinks, it should always keep in mind that the best drink is plain water.