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ANOTHER reason why diet drinks aren’t worth the saving in calories

Posted in: General Health 08 Feb, 2013

Let's face it, fizzy drinks don't have the best reputation, and should at best be left as the occasional treat, but in spite of knowing the risks, many of us still consume litres of the stuff weekly. However, to compensate some choose to drink the diet versions instead, as they are lower in calories and don't contain sucrose, but research indicating the dangers of diet versions is becoming more and more prevalent. One of the latest studies published on the safety of diet drinks, indicate that it could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study

Those with diabetes often drink diet soft drinks, because they don't contain the same type or level of sugar as regular soft drinks. However, the study, conducted with the help of 66 000 French women over the course of 14 years, show that diet drinks are not a good idea, especially if you are diabetic. According to their findings, women who drank diet alternatives were 60% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Just as bad as real sugar

This could be largely due to the fact that the women were more likely to drink more because of the fact that the drinks were considered less fattening or damaging to their health, but this would be dismissing the damaging effects of artificial sweeteners altogether. The researchers have noted separate research results in their report that has indicated that aspartame, the most widely used artificial sweeteners, actually affects blood sugar levels just like regular sugars do.

Type 2 Diabetes and obesity

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common forms of diabetes, and unlike type 1, it tends to develop later in life as a result of lifestyle factors, such as obesity. Just like diabetes, sugary drinks have also been linked to obesity and similarly people who are obese tend to go for diet options to avoid the excess calories associated with these drinks, but having an overall healthy diet is about more than just counting calories. We need to be mindful of the type of calories we take in; just because something is low in calories it doesn't mean that it's always the best option.

Be mindful of what you eat

If you are already diabetic, at risk of diabetes or just want to maintain your health, you should speak to your doctor about your diet and suitable alternatives to fizzy drinks. This study and many others like it are mere indicators of a possible link and should therefore not mean that you must make drastic changes to your diet. Doctors still consider diet drinks a better option for people who have diabetes and up until date, the UK's Food Standards Agency have found no reason to regulate the use of aspartame because of direct links to ill health. The majority of the things we consume that cause us to become ill do so because we indulge regularly and in excess, and therefore a balanced diet is always advisable.

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