Two new studies have yet again linked diet soda and artificial sweeteners to widened waistlines and increased risk of diabetes. According to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, people who regularly consume diet sodas had large increases in waist circumference compared to those who didn’t drink diet soft drinks.
In the study, researchers measured height, weight, waist circumference and the diet soda intake data of 474 elderly people and followed them for an average of ten years. The study found that diet soda drinkers had an increased waist circumference of 70 percent compared to those who did not drink diet beverages. Furthermore, those who consumed diet soda frequently (at least twice daily) had a waist circumference increase that was 500 percent greater than those who didn’t consume diet soda.
A second study tested the affects of artificial sweeteners on mice. Researchers found that when they fed diabetes-prone mice a diet that consisted of aspartame for three months, they had higher blood glucose levels than the mice not given the sweetener.
These are not the first studies that have highlighted the risks associated with diet sodas. Earlier this year another study released found that regular diet soda drinkers have higher stroke and heart attack risks.
While diet sodas and artificial sweeteners have been promoted as low-calorie alternatives, the risks involved are not worth it. Study researcher Helen Hazuda said, "They may be free of calories but not of consequences. If you want a really healthy drink, just have water and avoid the mislabeled diet sodas, which have nothing diet about them.”