Authors of a a longitudinal cohort study showed that regular diet soda drinkers put on up to 7cm more around their waists compared to those not consuming the drinks which was not related to calorie differences. A theory is that diet sodas are very acidic, its the acidity and/or the artificial sweeteners that may have a direct impact on gut microbes, which influence how we absorb nutrients.
J Am Geriatr Soc, April 2015″
I will always remember a very puzzling presentation in clinic many years back. This lovely lady in her early 40’s presented with bizarre neurological symptoms. She had a strange difficulty with her gait which had developed over only a few weeks, she described to me that she felt like ‘she’d just got off a horse’ with a slow and heaviness to her steps.
Then only days before visiting me she woke to find that she couldn’t move her arms or hands normally. She explained that she would go to reach for something and be surprised because her hands would not co-operate, there was a clear delay from the thought “pick up the cup” to the hand moving to the cup. The movement was then normal but there was an intention delay. As you can imaging this was very distressing and scary for her. She thought she must have some rare brain or nerve disease, or worse was she going crazy?
It didn’t fit with anything I had ever seen before, it wasn’t demyelinating, not Guillian Barre, not MS, not parkinson, not … it was a real puzzle. Off for tests, off for scans, nothing, no brain tumour, all normal. I had taken a solid history, so I started re-contemplating environmental toxicity … and it dawned on me.
She had started dieting, and using artificial sweetener. When I questioned further she had not only been replacing a teaspoon of sugar in her tea with an equal or using a diet jelly and diet soft drink, but she was a big baker and had been going through kilograms of ‘splender’ in cakes and cookies and muffins.
Neurotoxicity from aspartame….. reversible in this case thankfully! A few weeks ‘diet’ free and her symptoms began to subside.
We think of substances as safe when we don’t see the obvious immediate negative effects.
My daughter has trouble at school when I tell her soft drinks, are a poison. Her teacher and classmates disagree and tell her that aren’t. She questions and asks me if it is a poison why people “don’t die when they drink it?”, and I try to explain that some poisons are very slow and sneaky and eventually they will cause the person drinking them to die of a condition like heart disease or diabetes.
Just like smoking, so is smoking poisonous? – “yes” she says – well does someone die when they have a cigarette “no” ….ah I see…. eventually we know they will, it takes time.
This study shows that your waistlines increases up to 7cm from drinking diet drinks. Kind of defeats the purpose really.
I’ve seen the surprising and very scary result of neurological changes from artificial sweeteners in large doses, but do we know what else they are doing very slowly?. I think just stay away, and a nice result is a shrinking waistline.
My challenge for you ….
Lets just stop, maybe use soda water with lemon or lime juice. A little fresh orange or pineapple juice if it needs a little sweetness. It doesn’t taste that good to be worth the damage it causes, or the big fat waistline.
Cheers to sparkling water my loves.