The worrying (and strangely counter-intuitive!) side-effects of diet soda –
Think drinking diet soda helps you lose weight? It doesn’t, a number of studies have shown. In fact, it could have the exact same effect on your gut as the decidedly non-diet high-frucose corn syrup, according to a new paper in Obesity Reviews.
There are roughly 100 quintillion bacteria in your gut, and, the paper found, consuming high amounts of fructose, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (another type of low-calorie sweetener) may cause those gut bacteria to adapt in a way that interferes with your satiety signals and metabolism.
“An evolution of the gut flora to this new sweetener-rich environment has a potential to negatively impact our health,” says Amanda Payne, PhD, lead author of the review. As bacteria in the gut process food, they give off byproducts called short-chain fatty acids. These can be beneficial and serve as energy in the body. But as the bacteria thrive and become more efficient at processing large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols, they also produce more and more short-chain fatty acids.
In those high amounts, Payne says, short-chain fatty acids decrease satiety signals. “This signaling may cause disruptions in our feeling full and hence prevent us from stopping to eat when we should,” Payne says. As if overeating isn’t enough, the short-chain fatty acids also promote inflammation in the lining of the gut. Inflammation damages gut tissue and results in leaky gut syndrome, when bacteria leak through that damaged gut tissue into the blood stream and cause further inflammation there. That’s a serious problem that can lead to insulin resistance and an increased risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
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