I had a rare gin and tonic in the pub with my sister the other day. When the bar tender asked if we wanted ‘skinny’ tonic we both immediately said “NO WAY!”

Our complete avoidance of diet drinks is one of the reasons we’re both slim, I’ve no doubt about that at all. You see, there’s growing evidence that chemical sweeteners in diet drinks and weight gain are linked.

Why Diet Drinks and Weight Gain Are Linked

Although diet drinks and weight gain are very strongly linked to each other, the reason why is not completely clear yet. However a couple of possible reasons have been put forward.

Artificial sweeteners, e.g. aspartame, are chemicals that have been created in a science lab. When entirely unnatural substances are put into a human body, they tend to have unnatural, unpredictable, and often harmful consequences.

It’s thought that they have really negative effects on the body’s natural hormones, particularly interfering with those that regulate appetite like leptin.

So you might be having a calorie free drink, but it causes your appetite to increase by screwing up your natural leptin signals. You end up eating more than you need because you feel artificially hungry.

Also, when you eat something sweet your body will be expecting a nice feeling, as the sugar hits your pleasure receptors. Obviously this doesn’t happen with chemical sweeteners. So what tends to happen instead is your appetite increases (usually for sugar and carbs), so your body can ‘scratch this itch’ and satisfy the craving set up by the sweet taste.

It’s fairly clear that diet drinks and weight gain are linked, because of increased appetite.

I find it easy to shun products that take their origins in a ‘chemistry set’, but understand the appeal because people are trying to do the right thing and help themselves.

But don’t have the wool pulled over your eyes any longer with these drinks – they are helping to keep you overweight by artificially increasing your appetite.

Colas also rot your bones:

Carbonated drinks and osteoporosis

diet-coke-makes-you-fat

What do you think of this? Pop a comment in the box below.

Have a great week!

Dr Julie