Calorie-free “light” drinks are often presented by the industry that produces them as healthy alternatives to high-sugar soft drinks. Several studies show this to be a misrepresentation, as artificial sugars cause they also have metabolic disorders that support the development of several chronic diseases.
A single can of pop alone contains 9 teaspoons of sugar which adds 150 calories to daily calorie intake. It may not seem like much at first glance, but to metabolically burn those 150 calories, you have to jog for 20 minutes or walk for almost an hour.
These energy expenditures are important, especially at a time when most people are sedentary, and the simple fact of regularly consuming soft drinks often leads to a calorie surplus which promotes weight gain.
In this sense, numerous studies indicate that the skyrocketing increase in the consumption of these drinks in recent decades has played a leading role in the current obesity epidemic, especially among young people.
The discovery of sweeteners (aspartame and Splenda, for example) revolutionized the soft drink industry, because it allowed manufacturers to offer consumers products presented as being “healthier” because they were devoid of sugar and therefore of calories.
Indeed, these molecules mimic the sweet taste by interacting with the sugar receptors located on the tongue, but they are devoid of calories, ie their metabolism does not generate any energy.
In theory, these artificial sugars should therefore allow fans to drink their favorite soft drinks at will without ingesting calories and thus avoiding overweight and the problems that result from it, such as diabetes or hypertension. In reality, the situation is much bleaker!
Higher risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
According to a recent analysis, “light” or “sugar-free” carbonated drinks have a negative impact on health, similar to that caused by the consumption of standard carbonated drinks.
For example, several studies have shown that people who regularly consume diet drinks have an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. These harmful effects are even observed in moderate consumers, who only drink one “light” soft drink per day.
How can these surprising results be explained? On the one hand, the regular consumption of soft drinks, whether “light” or not, reflects a diet rich in high-calorie junk food which is more likely to promote the development of overweight and metabolic diseases.
The brain doesn’t like to be laughed at
On the other hand, current studies show that the brain does not like being fooled with fake sugars that contain no calories: sugar is essential for brain function and the absence of calories creates a state neurobiochemical dissatisfaction characterized by a lack of activation of cerebral reward centers usually stimulated by sugar.
In response, the brain then stimulates the appetite for other sweet foods in order to compensate for the lack of calories from the sweeteners, which eventually leads to the consumption of excess calories.
The top drink reads: water
This research shows that “light” soft drinks are in no way a valid alternative to standard drinks. All these soft drinks, whether “diet” or not, disrupt our metabolism and are associated with a major metabolic disturbance that leads, over time, to overweight and the development of serious chronic diseases that reduce life expectancy. .
Despite the hype of the soft drink industry, there is therefore no reason to consume these drinks regularly, even to quench your thirst. To quench thirst, nature has taken on the task of creating a “light” drink par excellence that contains no sugar or calories while being essential to life: water.
Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.
See also: Energy drinks: increased risks of caffeine overdose