Blubbery belly fat linked to diet soda

If there's any place filled with more lies than the halls of Congress, it's the aisles of your local supermarket.

Pick up just about any packaged food, and you'll find outrageous, misleading and outright false claims boldly printed right on the label -- and one of the worst of all is built right into the product's name: diet soda.

There's nothing "diet" about this stuff, my friend. It won't help you to lose weight or even stop you from gaining it, because people who drink diet soft drinks are heavier than those who don't.

Now, new research reveals how a regular diet soda habit can cause you to gain weight right where you want it least, adding a ring of unsightly fat right around your belly.

Yes, it's the dreaded spare tire... inflated with blubbery fat instead of air.

Most of us get a little bigger around the middle as we get older, but the new study finds that drinking diet soda can double, triple and even quadruple the size of that gain over the years.

If you're a senior and drink diet soda daily, you can expect your waistline to swell by 3.16 inches over the course of a decade.

That's not just a little extra weight. That's the kind of gain that will send you to the mall hunting for some new pants.

Even if you don't drink this junk daily, you could find yourself shopping for a new wardrobe -- because an occasional diet soft drink could cause your waistline to swell by 1.83 inches over a decade.

Drink no diet soda at all, on the other hand, and you can expect to gain just 0.8 inches, according to the study of 749 seniors.

That's the option I recommend, because extra belly fat will do far worse than hurt your wallet as you shell out extra cash for new clothes. It can hurt your health, because abdominal fat triggers the sequence of events that leads to metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.

Of course, don't just switch to regular soda, because sugar and high-fructose corn syrup can cause even more weight gain and speed the onset of diabetes.

Stick to plain old filtered water, or seltzer if you want some fizz. For some flavor, try infusing it with fruit or brewing some tasty tea instead.