Even diet sodas will add weight

Scientists will not rest until they’ve sucked the fun out of even your tamest vices, and now they’ve set their sights on diet sodas, according to the Jezebel website.

Two new studies found that diet drinks and artificial sweeteners increase people’s waistlines and increase their risk of diabetes. The new research was presented last week at an American Diabetes Association conference.

The first study by doctors at the University of Texas-San Antonio analyzed data from 474 subjects in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. The two-decade study includes elderly Mexican Americans and European Americas.

From ScienceDaily: Measures of height, weight, waist circumference and diet soda intake were recorded at SALSA enrollment and at three follow-up exams that took place over the next decade. The average follow-up time was 9.5 years.

The researchers compared long-term change in waist circumference for diet soda users versus non-users in all follow-up periods. The results were adjusted for waist circumference, diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level, neighborhood of residence, age and smoking status at the beginning of each interval, as well as sex, ethnicity and years of education.

Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.

Abdominal fat is a risk factor for several conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The researchers say this finding shows that national campaigns against sugary drinks should emphasize that replacing them with diet soft drinks won’t necessarily make you healthier.

The report didn’t weigh in on whether a raging Diet Coke addition is preferable to a regular Coke addiction, but it didn’t note that the artificial sweetener aspartame is also bad news if you’re concerned about diabetes.

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