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Diet Sodas Helps You Gain Weight Instead of Losing Weight

Think you’re making a healthier choice when you reach for diet soda instead of a sugary soft drink? Think again.

Diet soft drinks may have minimal calories, but they can still have a major impact on your waistline, according to two studies presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

Researchers at the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio tracked 474 people, all 65 to 74 years old, for nearly a decade, measuring the subjects’ height, weight, waist circumference, and diet soft drink intake every 3.6 years. The waists of those who drank diet soft drinks grew 70 percent more than those who avoided the artificially sweetened stuff; people who drank two or more servings a day had waist-circumference increases that were five times larger than non-diet-soda consumers.

The findings are in line with those of a 2005 study, also conducted by researchers at the Texas Health Science Center, in which the chance of becoming overweight or obese increased with every diet soda consumed.

“On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese,” said Sharon Fowler, who was a faculty associate in the division of clinical epidemiology in the Health Science Center’s department of medicine at the time.

But how does something with no calories cause weight gain? Turns out that even if our taste buds can’t tell the difference between real and fake sugar, our brains can. Another study, also presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting on Sunday, found that after three months of eating food laced with aspartame (which is also found in many diet soft drinks), mice had higher blood sugar levels than rodents who ate regular food. According to Fowler, who worked on all diet soda causes weight gainthree studies and is now a researcher at UT Health Science Center at San Diego, the aspartame could trigger the appetite but do nothing to satisfy it. That could interfere with your body’s ability to tell when you’re full—and could lead you to eat more in general.

It happens in humans, too. A 2008 study found that women who drank water sweetened with sugar and water sweetened with Splenda couldn’t taste a difference, but functional MRI scans showed that their brains’ reward center responded to real sugar “more completely” than it did to the artificial sweetener.

“Your senses tell you there’s something sweet that you’re tasting, but your brain tells you, ‘actually, it’s not as much of a reward as I expected,'” Dr. Martin P. Paulus, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and one of the authors of the study, told the Huffington Post. So you chase that no-calorie soda with something more caloric, like a salty snack. The sweet taste could also trigger your body to produce insulin, which blocks your ability to burn fat.

Aside from the health problems that go along with a widening waistline, diet soft drinks have also been linked to an increase in diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. One study of more than 2,500 people found that those “who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day,” ABC News reported in February. And a 2008 University of Minnesota study of nearly 10,000 adults ages 45 to 64 found that drinking a single can of diet soda a day led to a 34 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a collection of health problems that includes high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high levels of belly fat.

“Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, such as a can or two, isn’t likely to hurt you,” writes Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. “The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there’s no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer.”

“Some types of diet soda are even fortified with vitamins and minerals,” she added. “But diet soda isn’t a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss.”

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Corn Refiners wants High Fruit Corn Syrup to be called “Corn Syrup” due to bad rep

Big Sugar is taking Big Corn to court over the name “corn sugar.” Representatives of U.S. sugar farmers and refiners claim that the corn industry’s use of the term constitutes false and misleading advertising. We agree that the name is confusing. But we also think that you should limit consumption of all added sugar, in any name or form.

The lawsuit comes after manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the ingredient’s name to “corn sugar” in 2010, and began promoting it as “corn sugar” in advertisements. They want to make the change largely because of the bad rep high-fructose corn syrup has received in recent years as being somehow less healthful than other forms of sugar, which has hurt its sales.

But sugar manufacturers argue that “corn sugar” is already the FDA-approved name of a corn-starch based sweetener; that advertising high fructose corn syrup as a natural sugar is false because it contains no naturally-occurring fructose; and that advertising the nutritional equivalence of sugar and high fructose corn syrup ignores the research suggesting possible health differences.

The corn industry, no surprise, takes issue with those complaints. And we don’t necessarily agree with all of them, either. Most importantly, while some research suggests high fructose corn syrup poses unique health risks, other research doesn’t. Still, Consumers Union, publisher of this website, recently wrote the FDA to argue against the name change, mainly because sugar isn’t extracted from corn.

“Such a change would confuse, if not mislead consumers to believe that ‘corn sugar’ was naturally occurring in corn and simply extracted as a sugar,” noted Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of technical policy at Consumers Union. “This is misleading, since there are several chemical processing steps required, with consequent chemical changes that are not reflected in the term ‘corn sugar.’” Other consumer groups, including the National Consumers League and the Consumer Federation of America, have taken similar action.

Bottom line. It’s still unclear whether high-fructose corn syrup is any riskier than other forms of sugar. But all sugars provide empty calories. Most Americans would do well to cut back on all added sugar, regardless of name. So scan ingredient labels for it’s various aliases and do your best to stay clear of them which includes corn sweetener, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.

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Study links sugary soft drinks to pancreas cancer

Drinking as little as two soft drinks a week appears to nearly double the risk of getting pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.

”People who drank two or more soft drinks a week had an 87% increased risk — or nearly twice the risk — of pancreatic cancer compared to individuals consuming no soft drinks,” says study lead author Noel T. Mueller, MPH, a research associate at the Cancer Control Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The beverage industry took strong exception to the study, calling it flawed and pointing to other research that has found no association between soda consumption and pancreatic cancer.

Cancer of the pancreas was diagnosed in about 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2009, according to American Cancer Society estimates, and about 35,240 deaths from the disease were expected. The pancreas lies behind the stomach. It makes hormones such as insulin to balance sugar in the blood and produces juices with enzymes to help break down fats and protein in foods.

* Regular soda drinkers had 87 percent higher risk

* Theory is that sugar fuels tumors

People who drink two or more sweetened soft drinks a week have a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer, an unusual but deadly cancer, researchers reported on Monday.

People who drank mostly fruit juice instead of sodas did not have the same risk, the study of 60,000 people in Singapore found.

Sugar may be to blame but people who drink sweetened sodas regularly often have other poor health habits, said Mark Pereira of the University of Minnesota, who led the study.

“The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth,” Pereira said in a statement.

Insulin, which helps the body metabolize sugar, is made in the pancreas.

Writing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Pereira and colleagues said they followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years.

Over that time, 140 of the volunteers developed pancreatic cancer. Those who drank two or more soft drinks a week had an 87 percent higher risk of being among those who got pancreatic cancer.

Pereira said he believed the findings would apply elsewhere.

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The Harmful Effects of Energy Drinks – Dangerous Ingredients

Energy Drinks are Harmful for Kids and Teens

By Dr. Manny Alvarez

Energy drinks are labeled wrong. They don’t energize you – they stimulate you.

Research shows that beyond a brief caffeine high, there are actually no health benefits to energy drinks. In fact, the combination of different chemicals is likely to do more harm than good, especially for children.

Some of the unwelcome side effects of the drinks include elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns. A recent study by the University of Miami suggests even more serious outcomes, such as heart palpitations, strokes and sudden death.

Listen, I know it’s hard to believe that something that looks like soda could cause any of these symptoms. But let’s look at the facts here: Energy drinks have three to five times the amount of caffeine as regular sodas do. They also include a number of unregulated herbal stimulants and natural blends like taurine, guarana, creatine and B-vitamins.

And a lot of the time, they don’t even bother to list these ingredients on the label.

Does this sound like a product you want your kid guzzling down to get them through the school day? I know we’re all busy, and your child probably has a number of extracurricular activities, tests and projects going on all at once, but energy drinks are not the answer.

The sad thing is that it all boils down to common sense. These products get on the market, and they have flashy colors and cool commercials. The advertisers are specifically targeting kids.

Then, the kids get hurt and everybody wonders: What happened?

What happened was that you have companies that don’t care about children’s health, government regulators that don’t know what they’re doing, people that don’t want to be regulated, and most importantly, the power of the almighty dollar.

From a health care perspective, it has been obvious all along. These things can lead to no good. There certainly haven’t been any studies showing the health benefits of these drinks. Actually, it’s quite the contrary; these drinks can be dangerous, according to this latest study from researchers at the University of Miami.

So let’s stop the debate. Parents; don’t let your kids drink this stuff, and companies; stop targeting our kids.

Dr. Manny Alvarez is a Cuban-American OB-GYN who serves as a senior medical contributor for the Fox News Channel and senior managing health editor of FOXNews.com.

 

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Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?

Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink
 

People who drink diet soft drinks don’t lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study shows.

The findings come from eight years of data collected by Sharon P.Fowler, MPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Fowler reported the data at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

“What didn’t surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity,” Fowler tells WebMD. “What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher.”

In fact, when the researchers took a closer look at their data, they found that nearly all the obesity risk from soft drinks came from diet sodas.

“There was a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can or bottle of diet soft drink a person consumes each day,” Fowler says. More Diet Drinks, More Weight Gain

Fowler’s team looked at seven to eight years of data on 1,550 Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white Americans aged 25 to 64. Of the 622 study participants who were of normal weight at the beginning of the study, about a third became overweight or obese.

For regular soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
• 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
• 30.4% for 1/2 to one can each day
• 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
• 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soft-drink drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:
• 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
• 37.5% for 1/2 to one can each day
• 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
• 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

For each can of diet soft drink consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%.

Diet Soda No Smoking Gun

Fowler is quick to note that a study of this kind does not prove that diet soda causes obesity. More likely, she says, it shows that something linked to diet soda drinking is also linked to obesity.

“One possible part of the explanation is that people who see they are beginning to gain weight may be more likely to switch from regular to diet soda,” Fowler suggests. “But despite their switching, their weight may continue to grow for other reasons. So diet soft-drink use is a marker for overweight and obesity.”

Why? Nutrition expert Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, puts it in a nutshell. “You have to look at what’s on your plate, not just what’s in your glass,” Bonci tells WebMD.

People often mistake diet drinks for diets, says Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutrition consultant to college and professional sports teams and to the Pittsburgh Ballet.

“A lot of people say, ‘I am drinking a diet soft drink because that is better for me. But soft drinks by themselves are not the root of America’s obesity problem,” she says. “You can’t go into a fast food restaurant and say, ‘Oh, it’s OK because I had diet soda.’ If you don’t do anything else but switch to a diet soft drink, you are not going to lose weight.”

The Mad Hatter Theory

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly. “I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”

“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “It’s very easy to take more than nothing.” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

There is actually a way that diet drinks could contribute to weight gain, Fowler suggests.

She remembers being struck by the scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice is offended because she is offered tea but is given none — even though she hadn’t asked for tea in the first place. So she helps herself to tea and bread and butter.

That may be just what happens when we offer our bodies the sweet taste of diet drinks, but give them no calories. Fowler points to a recent study in which feeding artificial sweeteners to rat pups made them crave more calories than animals fed real sugar.

“If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, but it isn’t there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is something there and it will search for the calories promised but not delivered,” Fowler says.

Perhaps, Bonci says, our bodies are smarter than we think. “People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn’t fooled,” she says. “If you are not giving your body those calories you promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite.”

 Article Written Courtesy of By Daniel J. DeNoon

To learn more about eliminate those extra pounds without depending upon diet sodas, check out our weight management page and healthy smoothie recipes.