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Tuesday, 27 May 2014 14:16

Suspect Study - Diet Soda Helps You Lose Weight

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We know losing weight is difficult. It requires changing your diet, and often means overcoming long-term bad eating habits. But bogus diets and phony studies make it even harder to find a diet, stick to it and succeed.

The latest source of confusion for do-it-yourself dieters is a study funded by the American Beverage Association, which promotes Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks. Their findings? According to CNN's headline, "Diet soda helps weight loss, industry-funded study finds."

According to the CNN article, diet soda drinkers were divided into two groups and given coaching on diet. One group was allowed to drink diet soda as usual; the other group was given plain water instead of soda. Over twelve weeks, the soda group lost on average 13 lbs. The water-only group lost 9 lbs. Although CNN notes those "studies show a correlation, and are not designed to show causation," for some reason we see a number of headlines claiming "diet soda helps weight loss." What the heck!?

Since the soda study is funded by the beverage industry, and fails to show causation, the conclusion that diet soda helps you lose weight is extremely suspect. If you switch from regular soda to diet soda you will take in less calories. But there is no evidence to suggest that Coke Zero, for example, is better for dieters than plain water. In fact, the idea is ridiculous. Remember when cigarette companies claimed their products were beneficial to health? We haven't come a long way, baby. So where do these headlines come from?

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Diet sodas have their own dangers, including aspartame and other chemicals. California Medical Weight Management Head Nutritionist Elaine Murphy notes, "Diet drinks are bad for a lot of reasons really. Because they are sweet they actually raise insulin! That being said they actually stimulate the desire for even more sugar and cravings in general." The study results are easy to explain: take away diet soda and dieters will replace it with another type of sweet. That is a far cry from the claim that diet soda "helps you lose weight."

For a sugar substitute, California Medical Weight Management recommends natural Stevia or Truvia sweeteners.

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