Health And Wellness

Your Diet Soda Is Making You Fat

Photo: New Africa / Shutterstock
woman holding bottle of coke

It's really tough to tell what is actually helping or hurting your chances of losing weight anymore, especially since the food and diet industry is so tricky about getting you to spend your hard-earned money.

You just want to feel good about your body and to put good things in it, but nothing feels authentic and everything just feels like a product being sold to you.

It also feels like there's so much conflicting information about food and diets and how to exercise. There's no one right way to do it, but if you're trying to be specific about the way you do it, it's hard to get any solid information about how to lose weight.

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Besides, you assume that drinking sodas can't be that bad, and you assume diet sodas are even better for you. They're marketed as being healthier than regular soda, and some even claim to be zero calories and have less sugar.

What you're not told, however, is put companies put in their diet sodas to make up for what they don't have that regular sodas do.

Bad news bears: your diet soda is making you fat.

But a new study has found that the diet sodas — you know, the ones you drink to LOSE weight — are actually causing you to GAIN weight. 

What the WHAT? Sorcery, right?

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The study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people who drink regular soda gained .8 inches around their waists, while people who drink diet soda gained 3.2 inches around their waists, and those who drink both gained 1.8 inches.

What the HELL, diet soda? Why have you betrayed us?

Turns out the culprit of belly fat gain in diet soda are the sweeteners used to make them. No-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners tend to do their job too well. They sweeten the soda 200-600 times more than sugar would. The fact that these sodas cause you to gain belly fat is even more troubling since it increases people's chances of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and Type 2 diabetes.

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Sadly these negative effects hurt the people who are seeking weight loss most: overweight people!

"People who are already at cardiometabolic risk because they have higher BMIs are really in double or triple jeopardy," Dr. Helen Hazuda tells TIME. "When they think they're doing something good by drinking artificially sweetened beverages, it's actually totally counterproductive."

So it looks like if you want to avoid belly fat you should go for the regular sodas instead or even better, no soda at all. Replace your soda with water. 

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Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.