I find that people who believe they need to lose weight oftentimes drink diet soda, like Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. There is something about the word "diet" than conjures images of a slim body, created by simply drinking and eating foods with the word "diet" on the label. This is likely the result of relentless and oftentimes deceptive marketing practices of the beverage industry. They often use young, vibrant actors to promote their products, which creates a subconscious association between the two. "Drink this, and you'll be like me!" a tiny voice whispers in the back of the mind.
For example, Pepsi recently signed the one and only Beyonce to promote their drinks. Does she realize that she is playing a role in creating more cases of Type II diabetes? It's sad, but true. In an ideal world, a woman of her stature should be promoting things that extend life, or improve health. She has the influence, and millions of young people emulate her.
Anyways, back to the diet soda issue. Recently a large study (66,118 women) conducted in France over 14 years showed an association between the consumption of diet drinks with increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Both diet and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was linked with a higher risk of developing diabetes, researchers found. But interestingly enough, when comparing diabetes risk between the diet soda drinkers and regular soda drinkers, the diet drinkers had an even higher risk of diabetes.
The study didn't directly conclude that diet soda causes Type II diabetes; only that there is a strong association between the two. It also found that women who preferred diet sodas had a "stronger craving" for sugar, which could be a factor in the results. We do know that studies exist that link diet soda consumption to weight gain, heart attack and stroke.
So if you are one of those people who drink diet coke or diet pepsi regularly, take heed: it doesn't do what it appears to do -- keep you from gaining weight. You've been influenced by Madison Avenue ad agencies. My advice: dilute your favorite fruit juice 50% with carbonated water, like Perrier. And even then, don't drink more than a half quart of it per day.
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