This 'diet' switch can make you fatter

It's the vicious cycle that leads to weight gain... obesity... and diabetes.

And it could be CAUSED by trying to STOP it!

Crazy, right?

But new research shows how there's a right way and a wrong way to stop weight gain and prevent the onset of diabetes.

And many people unknowingly pick the wrong one.

Maybe you've done it yourself: You step on the scale, shriek at the number, and vow to make big changes.

The first change many people make -- the ONLY change that some might make -- is to swap sugary drinks and snacks for low- and no-cal versions.

Out with the Coke, in with the Diet Coke. Instead of sugar in your coffee or tea, you pick a packet: blue, yellow, or pink.

And, of course, there are plenty of treats out there with many of those same substitutes.

They certainly SOUND better, and you don't have to quite give up the things you love if you make the switch.

But that's exactly what you SHOULDN'T do.

Studies show that people who make the switch to no-cal chemical sweeteners often keep gaining weight. One study from a few years back found that just three large diet sodas a week can increase the risk of diabetes by as much as 60 percent.

The new study shows one reason for it: Those fake sugars damage your body on a cellular level, altering the stem cells that normally turn into muscle, fat, bone, or cartilage.

When exposed to an artificial sweetener -- in this case, the study used sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) -- those cells suck up fat like a sponge.

The more sweetener they're exposed to, the more fat they absorb.

That leads to fat production -- exactly what you DON'T want -- and the study finds that the risk is highest in the cells of people who are already overweight or obese.

In other words, the very people looking for help from fake sugars... the people who need to LOSE fat... could actually gain it.

That's not all that they found, either.

Tests on fat cells taken from human volunteers found that the sweetener also caused oxygenation inside the cell, which slows metabolism and can cause fat to build up.

While this was a test on cells, it verifies what we've seen in studies on people, as artificial sweeteners often do just the opposite of what you expect, making it harder to lose weight and easier to gain it.

If you're looking to drop a few pounds... or just looking to keep healthy... give up all of these sweeteners and get back to an all-natural diet low in all forms of sugar and sugar substitutes.

And if you're looking for a sweet drink to replace your pop, try fruit-infused waters or club soda.