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Here’s Why Your Diet Soda May Actually Prevent You from Losing Weight

Tim Boyer's picture
Diet soda and weight loss

A recent study suggests that diet sodas may actually be a culprit that prevents you from losing weight. This and other findings demonstrate that diet soda drinkers - especially older women - may be literally drinking themselves to death while trying to watch their figure.


One of the latest health trends observed by experts is that there appears to be a direct link between many - but not all - who are obese and the amount of diet sodas they drink.

The growing connection between diet soda consumption and obesity in the U.S. comes in light of a related story that diet sodas are suspected of also contributing to cardiovascular disease in older woman as revealed in this news video:

However, when it comes to losing weight, according to a recent NBC News report, scientists have discovered that diet sodas are altering the type of bacteria that live in our gut and as a result are affecting how food is digested and metabolized in the body.

In the study, mice who had never been fed artificial sweeteners before were fed large amounts of a variety of different sweetener types such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharine. The result of the artificial sweetener feeding was that the type of bacteria living in the guts of the mice changed from one normal population of bacteria called “Clostridiales” to a potentially harmful type of bacteria called “Bacteroides.”

Bacteroides were implicated as a potential cause of obesity in an earlier study where volunteers with diets rich in fatty foods were discovered to have an abundance of Bacteroides type of bacteria over study participants whose diet were high in carbohydrates and had an abundance of a different type of bacteria called “Prevotella.”

In fact, colon cleansing for treating obesity has been recommended by some physicians as a way to change your gut bacteria from the harmful fat-causing type to a healthier body-slimming type of bacteria.

The researchers found that not only did the gut bacteria change in the artificial sweetener-fed mice, but that their metabolism changed as well. To confirm that the change in metabolism was due to the change in gut bacteria, the researchers took normal gut bacteria from non-sweetener fed mice and grew them in a petri dish with added artificial sweetener. Then, the bacteria were reintroduced into mice that had never been fed artificial sweetener and the researchers found that these mice subsequently experienced changes in their metabolism.

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Extrapolating the mice data to human application may not be clear cut as mice are mice and men are men after all. However, in a very small study, seven people who did not normally use artificial sweeteners were given large amounts for a week. The results of this limited study showed that in four of participants, blood sugar levels shot up with changes to their metabolism associated with weight gain and pre-diabetes.

NBC News quotes Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who worked on the study as stating that:

“We are identifying many foods which are considered as healthy food to have potential adverse effects for large subsets of individuals…What was super-striking and interesting to us was that we could predict ahead of time (who would be affected by the sweeteners),” said Segal.

In fact, having too many bacteria of the Bacteroides type and too few of the Clostridiales type as referred to earlier, is a pattern that is sometimes seen in people with diabetes. Which in turn, may indicate that genetic differences as well as gut bacteria differences between individuals may predispose some people to being more susceptible to weight gain when drinking diet soda.

The authors conclude that more study is needed to definitively understand the connection between gut bacteria and obesity, and recommend that drinking water is still the best drink for keeping blood sugar levels down as well as your weight.

For more about the effects of sugary sodas on diabetes, see if you can guess correctly how many cans of soda a day it takes to make a diabetic.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

Reference: NBC News “How Can Diet Sodas Make You Fat? Study May Explain It”