Sugar-Free, Zero And 'Diet' Softdrinks Are No Better Than Full Sugar Drinks On Weight Health
In a critique on current study and policy into sweetened drinks, researchers from Imperial College London and two Brazilian universities (University of Sao Paulo and Federal University of Pelotas) claimed that sugar-free drinks may not be better for weight loss or avoiding weight gain than their full sugar counterparts, and which may also be harmful to the environment.
Artificially Sweetened Beverages - A Good Substitute? Or Not?
Artificially-sweetened beverages (ASBs) are substitutes to full-sugared drinks. They contain no sugar however, are sweetened with fake sweeteners instead. ASBs are often known as "diet" soft drinks, and may seemingly appear to consumers as the healthier choice for those who want to lose weight or reduce their sugar intake but it is not. Though, there is no solid indication to support claims that they are any better for health or prevent fatness and obesity related diseases commonly like type 2 diabetes.
Professor Christopher Millett, senior researcher from Imperial's School of Public Health, said "A common awareness, which may be swayed by industry advertising, is that because 'diet' drinks have no sugar, they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as an auxiliary for full sugar versions. However, we found no solid sign to support this."
Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) such as soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, and sports energy drinks, make up third of UK teenagers' sugar intake, and closely half of all sugar intake in the US. SSBs provide many calories but very few important nutrients, and their ingesting is a major cause of swelling rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Consuming ASB's Might Trigger Weight Gain
Regardless of having no or very little energy content, there is a worry that ASBs might trigger countervailing food intake by stirring sweet taste affinity. This, together with the consumers' mindfulness of the low-calorie content of ASBs, may result in over consumption of other foods, thus supplying to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related health problems.
Professor Millett and colleagues drew current evidence of the health results of consuming ASBs. Although there was no direct data for a role of ASBs in weight gain, they found that there was no indication that ASBs aid weight loss or prevent weight gain associated with the full sugar versions.
In addition, the output of ASBs has negative costs for the environment, with up to 300 liters of water necessary to produce a 0.5 L plastic bottle of bubbly soft drink.
ASB's Should Not Be Part Of A Healthy Diet
Dr Maria Carolina Borges, first writer of the study from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil added: "The lack of solid indication on the health issues effecting ASBs and the potential impact of bias from industry sponsored studies should be taken earnestly when discussing whether ASBs are sufficient alternatives to SSBs."
Professor Carlos Monteiro, co-author from the University of Sao Paulo, said: "Taxes and directive on SBS and not ASBs will ultimately encourage the consumption of diet drinks rather than plain water - the looked-for source of hydration for everyone."
The authors added also: "Far from helping to solve the global chubbiness crisis, ASBs may be contributing to the enigma and should not be encouraged as part of a healthy diet."
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