The following article is a reprint from my new blog called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":
Sharon Fowler vs. diet soda
This has got to rank among the top three most idiotic study results I have ever seen regarding the issue of obesity. According to this WebMD article, diet soft drinks don't help you lose weight, but rather gain weight instead.
Say what?! Okay, let me get this straight. People switch to a DIET soda because they need to lose weight while on their DIET. But it's not gonna help them lose weight? Huh? And they're not talking about the imposters Coke and Pepsi tried to fool people into believing were good for them. They're talking about actual DIET sodas such as Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, Diet Rite, etc. Am I the only one who things this sounds awful preposterous?
The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas has allegedly been studying data since 1997 and reported their findings at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego, California on Monday.
Sharon P. Fowler headed the study claims her analysis of the study showed that people who exclusively drank diet sodas were more likely to develop obesity than those who drank sugar-laced soft drinks.
"What didn't surprise us was that total soft drink use was linked to overweight and obesity," Fowler told WebMD. "What was surprising was when we looked at people only drinking diet soft drinks, their risk of obesity was even higher."
You have got to be kidding me! While I'm sure Ms. Fowler is a highly respected researcher in her field of study, her conclusion just doesn't make any common sense. How can something that does not contain any sugar whatsoever and has very few calories be WORSE FOR YOU than a sugar-loaded can of wasted carbs and calories? I have long argued that sugar is the reason why we have an obesity problem. Frankly, this research will only serve to perpetuate the problem as people stop drinking diet sodas because they will think these are worse for them than the regular sodas.
Fowler exclaimed that there is a 41 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese for each can or bottle of diet soda drank each day while a sugar-filled soda only increased the risk by a little more than 30 percent.
I guess my risk of being overweight increased by 492 percent today thanks to those 12 diet soft drinks I gladly consumed! All I can say is how incredibly thankful I was to have diet soda to drink as I was in the midst of losing my 180 pounds last year. They were a real godsend to this former Cokeaholic! Although I still drink a lot of diet sodas, I also drink a lot of water, too. My weight has not been affected by my heavy consumption of diet sodas. But according to Fowler, I should be walking around hovering near 1,000 pounds by now! Are we sure this isn't just some joke?! It can't be serious research, can it?
The research followed 1,550 Mexican-American and Caucasian Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 over the past eight years. Fowler states about one-third of the 622 of those in the study who were at a normal weight at the beginning of the study became overweight or obese.
How do we know it was the diet soda that caused the weight gain? What were the eating and exercise habits of these study participants and how did those habits change if at all from what they were doing prior to the study? I'm just not buying this theory that the diet sodas CAUSED the weight gain. This smells fishy!
Fowler even admits that this does not prove diet sodas necessarily cause obesity, but said the common factor among those studied was diet soda consumption.
"One possible part of the explanation is that people who see they are beginning to gain weight may be more likely to switch from regular to diet soda," Fowler suggests. "But despite their switching, their weight may continue to grow for other reasons. So diet soft-drink use is a marker for overweight and obesity."
Using this logic, why don't we use air as a marker since everyone in the study breathed in oxygen during the study? Or why not blame it on the blue sky since it existed for all of the study participants during their weight gain? Surely it had to be the blue sky that caused their weight to increase! '
Sound absurd?! That's my point exactly. Where is the sanity in this research that one could conclude that the diet sodas had anything to do with the weight gain? I think it is blatantly dishonest to even suggest there is a connection when the data is inconclusive. For Fowler to come to that conclusion is simply baffling.
While a nutrition expert in the story notes that people mistakenly think drinking diet sodas will allow them to overindulge in their eating, one statement made especially stuck out to me.
"If you don't do anything else but switch to a diet soft drink, you are not going to lose weight."
Why not? We could all stand to rid our bodies of the unnecessary sugar we drink in the form of high-fructose corn syrup in so many of the soft drinks today. If nothing else changes in your eating habits, then cutting out sugary sodas can and will have an effect on your weight for the better. Of course, if you are still stuffing your face with gobs and gobs of sugar and other carb-loaded foods, then you will not lose any weight whether you are drinking diet soda or not.
Diet soft drinks are merely a tool in an effective weight loss strategy if you need them. When I started livin' la vida low-carb last year, I needed to replace all those Cokes I was drinking everyday with diet soda instead. It was an immediate change that needed to be made for my new eating lifestyle. Making that change when I still weighed 410 pounds was the starting point for my eventual success that got me down to 230 by the end of the year.
Fowler contends that people who drink diet sodas crave more calories than those who drink regular soft drinks with sugar.
"If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, but it isn't there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is something there and it will search for the calories promised but not delivered," Fowler says.
How stupid does Fowler think we are? This notion that artificial sweeteners make you crave sugar is not a new argument. But to assert that it makes your body want to devour more calories is crazy. I don't eat any more food when I drink 12 diet sodas in a day than I do when I drink 2 of them! Are we so unaware of our own body that we would blindly start stuffing our faces with food because of the diet soda we drank?! This study is getting more and more silly by the moment!
"People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn't fooled," she says. "If you are not giving your body those calories you promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite."
Okay, I give up. How can you reason with someone who thinks your body throws a temper tandrum when you "food" it with diet sodas? What is Fowler's real motive for these controversial study results? What does she suggest diabetics and people on a low-carb lifestyle drink instead of diet soda? Is she merely trying to discourage people from enjoying a delicious glass of something they can enjoy on their eating plan?
Fowler admits she was "baffled" by the study results, but said people need to drink "healthier alternatives" such a milk, water or juice. Other than the water, milk and juice are too high in carbs to be "healthy" for your weight loss efforts.
“Can you think of one good thing that comes from a diet soft drink can for your body? You’re giving yourself the taste of nourishment without any at all, so it may be that you then seek it from other foods, such as high-calorie desserts,” she said. “Even though you fool your tongue, you don’t fool your brain. It is not satisfied. I’ve seen people plunk down a doughnut and a diet soda on a convenience store counter. What our analyses indicate for sure is that drinking diet soft drinks will not protect a person from the health effects of the rest of his or her lifestyle.”
Now we're getting to the heart of the matter. Fowler just doesn't like the concept of diet sodas. I guess she'd be disappointed to hear that I absolutely LOVE the new Diet Coke with Splenda because it tastes so much sweeter than regular Diet Coke and pretty close to regular Coke. While I also consume about 2 gallons of water per day, I wonder what excuse she will try to come up with about why I haven't ballooned back up to my former weight.
to Fowler: I'M NOT GAINING BACK MY WEIGHT AND I'M DRINKING LOTS OF DIET SODA!
Send Fowler a that she's way off base with her research on diet sodas. She's doing a lot more harm than good with her work.