Diet drinks are becoming more popular. They’re in every restaurant, grocery store, and gas station. Their popularity isn’t too hard to figure out. Why drink more calories when you don’t need to, right? While diet drinks may seem like a great way to enjoy something you love without gaining weight, recent studies show that it may actually be causing you to eat more.
In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that overweight adults who drank diet pops were more likely to eat additional calories at every meal. In fact, it was estimated that people who drank diet pop ate nearly 100 additional calories than people in the same weight class. The findings of this study highlight the issues of using diet drinks as part of a weight loss program. You may be wondering why this happens when diet drinks have so few calories. The answer is simple: by reducing your calories with a ‘better option,’ many people then feel justified in splurging on other food items instead. The result is an increased caloric intake each and every day…which can cause dieters to put on weight, rather than take it off.
The results of this study don’t apply to all dieters, but it certainly gives a little room for thought. Is it the actually diet drinks themselves or is the problem them justifications by the people drinking those diet drinks? One thing is clear: in order to stay healthy and lower your caloric intake, you need to be aware of everything you’re consuming. Reducing calories in your beverage doesn’t mean that you can add on an extra side of fries. The most important thing is to use diet drinks (or healthier drink options like flavoured water, and so on) as a tool.
According to the lead author of this study, Sara Bleich, “the switch from a sugary beverage to a diet beverage should be coupled with other changes in the diet.” That may include eating more fruits and vegetables, doing more cooking and avoiding pre-packaged meals or processed foods, or even taking a look at your snacks. Bleich suggests reducing the number of snacks as well as the number of calories in those snacks. That can aid in your diet, can help you lose weight, and can offset the impact of drinking sodas.
So, if you love drinking pop with your meals, what can be done? Well, if you have made the switch to diet pop, use what you’ve learned. Make sure that you are extra aware of what you eat throughout the day. That can help you avoid packing on the pounds or justifying any of those additional calories. Another good idea is to cut back. If you’re used to drinking a couple of cans a day of your favourite diet beverage, cut it back to one can. Then, in a week or two, make it one can every other day. The key is to enjoy these drinks in moderation. Try substituting a low-calorie juice or water instead…at least every so often.
There isn’t anything wrong with drinking diet sodas every now and again. When you do, simply be careful of overdoing it with the rest of your meal. This can help you avoid becoming a statistic – and make it easier to lose weight.