'Diet' soda makes you eat more
It's the one change many dieters make almost immediately -- and it's a fatal mistake that can undermine the diet before it even starts.
It's diet soda.
People assume that switching from sugary high-calorie soft drinks to diet sodas with no sugar and no calories will help the pounds melt away like an ice cube in summer.
But it doesn't really work that way.
Diet soda drinkers are actually more likely to gain weight, not lose it -- and now, a new study shows at least one reason why: They eat more.
On average, an obese adult who drinks diet soda eats nearly 200 more calories per day than an obese adult who drinks regular soda. And for the overweight, the daily difference amounts to 88 calories, according to the study in the American Journal of Public Health.
Even worse, diet soda drinkers don't eat more high-quality calories. They're not eating more carrots or apples.
They're eating more sugary treats.
It seems like one way or another, they're set on getting their daily sugar fix -- and if it doesn't come from soda, it's going to come from candy, cake or something equally bad.
But a diet soda habit can actually make those sweet treats even more damaging.
Here's the deal: The sweet taste of a diet soft drink prepares the brain for calories, and it gets ready to release the hormones that handle sugar.
But when the calories don't come, the brain gets confused.
It's determined not to get fooled again -- so when sugar really does arrive (like those 200 extra calories of junk food), it fails to release the hormones.
And that, in turn, could lead to more hunger, more cravings and more weight gain.
It's a vicious cycle that helps explain why diet soda drinkers almost never get healthier. In fact, studies have shown that diet soda can actually double your risk of metabolic syndrome and boost your risk of diabetes by as much as 60 percent.
And if that's not enough risk for you, diet soda can also boost the odds of heart attack and stroke.
This doesn't mean regular soda is better, of course. It's all bad -- and if you want to be healthy, you're better off avoiding all of it completely. Water is obviously a better choice, and if you want some flavor you can infuse fruit.
For fizz, try seltzer.
And don't forget tea -- hot or iced, it's always a healthy choice... as long as you don't add sugar or diet sweeteners.