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The Not-so-Diet Diet Soda

At an American Diabetes Association meeting this past Sunday, researchers announced that while diet sodas may be free of calories, they are not free of health risks.

In a study held by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonia, researchers followed the health of 474 diet soda drinkers for 10 years. After the testing period came to an end, they found that the participants who drank diet soda increased their waist size by 70% more than those who completely avoided low-calorie and calorie-free soft drinks.

What concerned the authors even more were the health risks they found to be associated with drinking diet sodas. Previous studies have suggested that chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health risks may be directly correlated to an individual’s waist size. In hopes of supporting this claim, the UT Health Science Center research team tested the correlation between diet soda consumption and diabetes in mice. They found that the mice that consumed food laced with aspartame (the sweetener in some diet sodas) had higher blood sugar levels than the mice that ate normal food, which means that the artificial sweetener aspartame could very well contribute to the development of diabetes in humans, too. Continue reading

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