Diet soft drinks

New studies question benefits of diet soft drinks

Diet soft drinks ‘may be free of calories but not of consequences,’ according to new research from the University of Texas, US, which questions the benefits of drinking low calorie soda.

Two research studies, recently presented at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions in San Diego, suggest that consuming diet soft drinks could be self-defeating. However industry members have hit back at the studies, noting that other recent studies contradict the results and affirm the benefits of consuming such drinks.

In the first study, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, reported that diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, whilst the second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose levels in diabetes-prone mice.

“Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised,” said Dr Helen Hazuda, professor and chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine.

The studies have provoked mixed reaction within the industry, with the International Sweetener Association (ISA) questioning the research findings, adding that they do not match the findings of many other large scale studies.

“A number of research studies have examined whether low-calorie sweeteners have an effect on appetite, and, notably, whether they influence the level of insulin and glucose in the blood. One of the most important of these studies was carried out by Dr Härtel of Hannover University Medical School, Germany. This study showed that there was no difference in the levels of blood glucose in persons having consumed a low-calorie sweetened beverage and those who consumed water,” said the ISA.

However, Angus Flood, President of the World Stevia Organization, told FoodNavigator that the new research provides “clear support for previous studies” that suggest artificial sweeteners could have side-effects…..

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