The Red-Light District

Exploring the carnal and taboo

Diet Soda Double Whammy

Can diet soda cause weight gain and diabetes?

A few months ago, my wife, my brother and my mother encouraged me to make the switch from soda to diet soda. Begrudgingly, I complied, and I was soon drinking 4 cans of Diet Coke a day. I acquired a taste for the stuff which I figured was okay because it doesn't have any calories. Recently, though, I weighed myself and the change didn't cause any weight loss. I was stupefied, and, apparently, I'm not alone. This exact topic has recently received much media attention.

In late June 2011, at the most recent meeting of the American Diabetes Association Special Sessions, researchers from the University of Texas San Antonio presented research suggesting that diet soft drinks may lead to weight gain in humans and diabetes mellitus in mice.

For 10 years, researchers followed measures of height, weight and waist circumference among 474 study participants. They found that the waist circumference of diet soft drink aficionados ballooned by nearly 70 percent!

In a related study, researchers discovered that mice fed artificial sweeteners were likely to develop high blood sugar which can contribute to the development of diabetes mellitus.

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Granted mice are different from humans, but the idea that diet soda (or what I now call Diabetes Water) can change a man's waist line from 32 to 50-plus freaks me out. Consequently, I'm going to quit Diet Coke and switch over to Pellegrino.  Anybody with me?


Naveed Saleh, M.D., M.S., attained a medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and a master's degree in science journalism from Texas A&M.


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