SAN ANTONIO - Is diet soda just as bad as regular soda? That's what one new report released this week has concluded.
Purdue University Researchers looked into about a dozen studies for the report, including some research done at the University of Health Science Center in San Antonio.
According to the opinion piece, authored by behavioral neuroscientist Susan Swithers, artificial sweeteners in soda, actually have a "counterintuitive effect.
The report states that the fake sugar teases your body and confuses it.
So, when you consume real sugar, your body doesn't release the hormone that regulates blood sugar, triggering hunger and ultimately causing weight gain.
"She's kind of coming at it from a psychological level," said Sue Cunningham, a registered dietitian at the UT Health Science Center. "We trick ourselves into thinking, "Oh, we are so good. We are having diet soda, rather than regular soda. We're saving so many calories, I can go ahead and have french fries.'"
In response to the opinion piece, the American Beverage Association responded by stating that low-calories sweeteners "are safe" and have been "an effective tool in weight loss, according to decades of scientific research."
Cunningham said while that may be proven, she said what is really important is looking at the overall diet and portions.
"My students tell me (that they were) on Weight Watchers or whatever program, but they were just focusing on calories," said Cunningham. "That's another reason to not only look at the calories in the diet, but the overall diet."
Cunningham said while the new opinion piece presents something to think about, she said if you really want to pick the "right thing" to drink, you need to skip regular soda and diet soda and drink water instead.
"Sugar beverages don't quench your thirst and neither do the diet sodas," said Cunningham. "Water is really the way to hydrate."
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