Wait a minute... it said DIET soda on the label

Okay, pop quiz time. Which of these terms does not belong in this list?

Red meat, fried food, diet soda, George Clooney

Original photo courtesy SanFranAnnie


Yes, you're right!
Turns out old George is not likely to give you metabolic syndrome issues.


According to the National Institute of Health the other three are.

Wait a minute.

Red meat and fried food I know are bad for me, but ... diet soda? Yep.

Maybe you all already knew this, but that was news to me. Not juice, not regular soda, but the diet stuff leads to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

Would the National Institute of Health lie? Yes, I know they're part of the government, but they're a pretty dull part so I'm going with "no." At least as far as this study is concerned. Diet soda was strongly associated with an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, although sweetened beverages such as juices and regular soda were not. According to the NIH, other recent studies have found links between diet soda and metabolic syndrome as well as weight gain.

The NIH considers that "findings in rodents suggest that artificial sweeteners may lead to increased intake because they may interfere with the body's ability to properly assess how many calories are in foods."

That goes against everything I thought I knew about satiety.
They always told me the stomach sends messages of "full" to the brain about 20 minutes after you really are full, so I thought satisfaction was caused by a feeling of fullness. Just drinking a ton of water should make you feel full, let alone a ton of water flavored with artificial sweeteners.

Why else does gastric bypass surgery work? I mean, people who have their stomach stapled feel full after two bean sprouts and a celery stalk, so they lose weight. Right?

Original graphic courtesy of willietling

I'm kinda freaked by the idea of the body having an internal calorie counter. Can't stop from picturing a little guy with a white coat and a clipboard, stationed somewhere near the entrance to the stomach and counting the calories as they come in to make sure they're the right sort.


Protein? Check.
Fat? Definite check.
Carbs? Okay, we're low. Send down another 4 g of carbs, stat!

Another study, which I gleaned from a classic post on The Great Fitness Experiment, is even worse. This study claims that artificial sweeteners make you gain weight because they alter your brain chemistry.

Ack! It might not be on a level with Einstein's, but I'd like to keep my brain and its chemistry set the way it was designed, thankyouverymuch.

When a study that I don't like comes along, I feel like putting my fingers in my ears and singing La, la, la -- only it would sound a lot better than that, in fact Simon Cowell would applaud when I stopped. (Or because I stopped.)

But when a bunch of studies come out and they all point in the same direction, there's only one possible conclusion I can come to. It's a government conspiracy.

Did you all know that diet soda was the spawn of Satan? Do you still drink it anyway or has the government shown you the error of your ways brainwashed you with its evil conspiracy?

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