Do diet sodas make you fat? Here are the facts:

There are two short answers to this question: no and, maybe, yes. Studies have shown people who drink diet soda- even sodas that claim to be zero calories- still have a 41 percent chance of being overweight.

An even more interesting  fact about recent research is that most diet-soda drinkers have a greater risk for obesity than do those who drink regular sodas!

But, how is this possible? Common sense tells us it can’t be the diet sodas that are causing our waistlines to expand into new territories, since they contain no calories.

One researcher put it like this: “When people consume diet drinks, they think they’re doing something “good” for their body — and then they feel free to splurge on other, high-calorie items.” That means after a person drinks a diet soda, they actually believe they did a good thing and then reward themselves with crappy food!

For example, haven’t you ever heard someone say they are going to “Eat Fresh!” at Subway and feel like they did a good thing, so when they got home that night they figured they could eat a little extra? What that person didn’t tell you is they at the 12″ Meatball Marinara (over 1,160 calories, 400 from fat), Baked Lays (130 calories, 1 from fat), and a large diet soda…twice…then filled it up for the ride back to the office. That’s almost 1300 calories from one meal! Then, since that person ate “healthy” for lunch, they splurge at dinner and have desert as a reward for a solid day of great eating!

There is also research that suggests the ingredients in diet sodas may actually temporarily stimulate the appetite. This would explain the relationship between diet sodas and obese individuals.

Then what should you drink?

First, rule of thumb: Everything in moderation. Say you have two sodas a day. Drop it to one and replace the other with an apple. The ingredients in an apple will give you some energy in the same way the soda will, except it will be a healthy alternative. Decreasing your intake of soda will help you lose weight; I see it often during my clients journey to a skinny body. Also, pay attention to when you normally drink the soda. Do you have a habit of eating high calorie foods at the same time?

In conclusion, ditching Diet Soda is not the magic pill of weight loss, but it will give you a great place to start on your quest to fit into those college jeans!

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