The most common reason that people drink diet beverages is because they believe it will help them lose weight. On the surface it makes sense: fewer calories in means fewer pounds on. Adding confusion to it all is a multi-billion dollar marketing blitz that would have us believe any beverage with low calories will help us trim unwanted pounds.
There is now a growing body of evidence that, in fact, diet beverages might be working against the goal of weight loss. When artifically sweetened drinks are combined with carbohydrates (as they typically are), it leads to significantly higher blood levels of hormones that promote fat build-up.
A 24-week trial found that for people eating a low calorie diet, drinking water with meals led to significantly greater weight loss than drinking a low calorie diet drink with meals. Published in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study showed that drinkning water not only led to greater weight loss, but also led to enhanced insulin sensitivity. That might sound boring and technical, but it is a Big Deal. Reduced insulin sensitivity is a first step on the road to diabetes.
No matter what the health goal is, one of the most important phrases anyone can learn to use is, "Just water for me, thanks."
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