The scary truth about diet soda and your belly

What is it about diet soda? They’ve done such a good job with marketing and misinformation that it’s tough to separate what’s real from what’s in the commercials. But here’s the ugly truth about these concoctions: They won’t make your body look slim and beautiful. In fact on the inside, they have rather ugly effects on your waistline.

Diet soda is worse than worthless for weight-loss – it puts three times more fat on your belly, especially as you age.

Most of the previous research showing that these artificial sweeteners do no good for weight control has been performed on younger people and the middle-aged.

But now a study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio demonstrates that for people over the age of 65, even a little puts on the pounds. And the more diet soda you drink, the more abdominal fat your body creates around your middle.

The end result of that extra belly fat is an increase in your chances of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of problems connected to diabetes, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

Related: 5 Big health risks every time you drink soda

Diet sodas have never worked for weight loss. They’re sweetened with chemicals like saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame instead of sugar. Yet despite having no “calories,” their consumption has coincided with the average weight in the U.S. climbing dramatically.

The nine-year study compared people’s waistlines at the beginning and end of the research. People who never drank soda gained, on average, a little less than an inch on their waistline. Occasional drinkers gained 1.83 inches. Daily drinkers gained 3.16 inches – triple what the non-drinkers experienced.

It’s a little bit tough to get away from the non-calorie sodas and drinks … so what should you drink instead?

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Unsweetened tea and coffee in moderation are good choices. But our bodies are built for water.

You can’t even live very long without water. Many of the vitamins our bodies need are “water-soluble.” Water is the medium our skin uses to help remove toxins. So in a world where even the occasional “diet” soda puts inches on your waist, pure water is health-enhancing and a no-brainer.

The water I like the best is filtered tap water. It’s neutral in pH, and free of chemicals and bacteria. I filter my tap water and store some in large glass containers for emergencies.

Another option is mountain spring water. This mineral-rich water is probably the most natural you can get, and you can harvest it yourself. As with many things today, there’s a website that can help. It’s, and odds are, there’s a spring close to where you live.


Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.