Many of us are enticed by the word ‘diet’, believing it to be a quick and easy way to lose weight. Those who are overweight are twice as likely (1 in 5) to opt for diet drinks instead of regular drinks, compared to healthy adults.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore USA, found that drinking diet beverages caused people to consume more solid calories. The study was recently published in the American Health Journal.
The researchers analysed the data of 24,000 Americans from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2010. The surveys revealed that adults who drank diet drinks, and were classified as overweight, consumed around 88 more calories from solid foods than healthy people. Those who were classified as obese ate 194 extra calories. Furthermore the food they ate tended to be sweet, perhaps replacing the missing sugar from the diet version of soft drinks.
Over the years popularity of ‘diet’ drinks has increased from less than 3% in 1965, to over 20% today. Be warned, the word ‘diet’ does not mean the product contains no unhealthy ingredients, it means the ‘bad’ ingredient has been substituted for another, it just happens to have fewer calories. The zero or fewer calorie options often contain artificial sweetners such as aspartame and sucralose.
As our waists have expanded and we seek to find quick weight loss solutions we turn to reduced calorie options, but to lose weight It’s not a case of ‘if I switch from regular sodas to diet I’ll be skinny’, you have to alter your whole diet, reduce the amount you eat and increase the amount of time you are active. In simple terms; eat less, move more.
We suggest you take Bonnie Leiban’s (director of Nutrition at the Centre for Science) advice: “you’re much better off with water or coffee or tea, if they are unsweetened”. If you’re concerned about what you are drinking or eating check the label for ingredients.
Activity trackers are a good way to encourage you to be more active and more concerned about you overall wellbeing.