On a race to lose weight, one of the first habits dieters discover is diet pop. Hardly a unique thought, it is estimated that diet pop has seen a 25% increase in consumption in the last decade and nearly half of those drinkers are kids under the age of 15. All the flavour of the sugar-laden pop they used to drink, but none of the calories and certainly non of the potential for weight gain, right? After you read this, you may want to give up pop all together and stick with natural juices or plain old water.
Whacked out Metabolism
We are all born with slow, medium or high metabolisms. Those with slow metabolisms take longer to burn off fat and those with high metabolisms burn it fast and lose weight quickly. The University of Minnesota looked at 10,000 subjects who drank diet pop. What they discovered is that consuming just one can of diet pop a day altered the metabolic rate of all the subjects – even those with previously fast metabolisms showed an increase in belly fat, which as you know is a risk factor for heart disease.
With the increase in consumption, researchers at Harvard Medical School studied its effects on 3000 women over the span of little more than a decade. What they discovered is disconcerting at best. Half the subjects drank 2 8-ounce glasses of pop with real sugar and the other drank the equivalent of diet pop. What researchers reported is that the diet pop group were twice as likely to develop kidney problems. Interestingly the regular pop drinkers showed almost no signs of kidney disease.
Diet Pop Contributes to Weight Gain?
Contrary to the adverts displaying toned men and women drinking diet pop, the fact is diet pop contributes to weight gain. The University of Texas studied the eating and drinking habits of over 5,000 participants, all of whom reportedly drank diet pop, along with other so-called diet food. Rather than seeing a decrease in their weight, shockingly they saw an increase in waistlines by over 500%! What the researchers concluded is that the sugar substitute makes dieters crave food, which increased their weight over time.
As if all this weren’t dismaying enough, seems that sugar substitutes are also responsible for cellular damage. Containing sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate, according to professor Peter Piper of the University of Sheffield, “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it.” Common side effects of consuming either or both benzoates include hives, asthma, wrinkles and breathing problems.
If the Pop Doesn’t Harm You, the Can Will
Before you even flip the tab on a can of diet or regular pop, you have already exposed yourself to myriad health problems. Soft drink cans are coated with something called bisphenol A. Although studies at the National Institutes of Health are ongoing, they suggest links between bisphenol A and breast cancer, tumors in the vagina, uterus, ovaries and prostate gland in men, along with decreased fertility in both sexes. What caused researchers to look more closely at this coating is that it has a chemical makeup almost identical to diethylstilbestrol (DES), which were routinely prescribed to pregnant mothers in the 1950s to minimize nausea and morning sickness. However, if you recall, DES, sold under the name Thalidomide, caused myriad birth defects, including phocomelia.
Think it’s time to rethink that diet pop you are drinking?
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!