Welcome to Try Limiting Diet Soda and Other Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners… Now that’s a hot topic!

I fluctuate between wanting to know everything the experts have to say and wanting to bury my head in the sand!

I accepted long ago that a sugar-free food product had to get its taste from something. Usually that meant more fat was added, but often, artificial sweeteners were used. I could live with that and I kept it in mind when making selections.

The reason I find this new research so disturbing is that I LOVE DIET SODA!

I’ve been a fan since conception, when TAB was the only choice. Yes, I realize I’m showing my age, but even now, with so many options available, I’m not particular about the brand. I’m perfectly happy to buy whatever is on sale! I suppose you might even say I’m hooked!

Oh, sure, a couple of times each year, I give it up cold turkey, just to prove to myself that I can, but I’m not particularly fun to be around during those times. Giving it up temporarily is one thing, but to never have one again…life just wouldn’t be worth living!!

The purpose of artificial sweeteners, of course, is to trick your taste buds into thinking that you have satisfied your sweet tooth.

The problem, apparently, is that artificial sweeteners MAY also confuse your system when it comes to appetite control and making choices about caloric intake.

Purdue University conducted research recently that found that rats eating yogurt sweetened with saccharin ate more food overall and gained more weight in a two-week period, than rats eating yogurt sweetened with glucose. The saccharin-eating rats consumed up to 10% more calories overall, gained 20% more weight, and raised their body fat by 5%!

Granted, not all scientists are convinced that this research relates to humans, but it is cause for concern.

Quite a few studies have been conducted recently concerning the possible relationship between weight gain and diet beverages.

A 2007 study found a 50% increased risk of metabolic syndrome over four years in study participants who drank one or more sodas per day with those who drank less than one soda per day. Are you ready for this?


If you’re like me, your next question is, “What the heck is metabolic syndrome?”

Metabolic syndrome is the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These risk factors include:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High blood-glucose levels

To help put this in perspective, a typical Western diet, consisting of refined grains, fried foods, and red meat, is associated with an 18% increased risk for metabolic syndrome.

A sensible diet, consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables, and fish or poultry, is associated with neither an increase nor decrease in the risk for metabolic syndrome. But…

Add a diet soda to the mix and things begin to get interesting!

The study participants who ate a typical Western diet and drank at least one can of diet soda a day, showed a 34% higher increase in the risk of developing metabolic syndrome over the participants who ate the Western diet, but drank no diet soda.

It does make one stop and think, but the major thing that the researchers do seem to agree on is that more research is needed. I guess you’ll be hearing more about this topic in the future…

NOTE: In January 2011, my resolution was to give up diet soda. Amazingly, it stuck! In all of 2011, I had maybe 5 diet drinks, and not once did I think, “Wow, I really miss this!” I don’t know why it was easier this time than in the past, but if eliminating or limiting your consumption is a goal, keep trying…


C. Hardy