Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?
Overweight Risk Soars 41% With Each Daily Can of Diet Soft Drink
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The Mad Hatter Theory
"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I
can't take more."
"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "It's very easy to
take more than nothing." Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in
There is actually a way that diet drinks could contribute to weight gain,
She remembers being struck by the scene in Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland in which Alice is offended because she is offered tea but is
given none -- even though she hadn't asked for tea in the first place. So she
helps herself to tea and bread and butter.
That may be just what happens when we offer our bodies the sweet taste of
diet drinks, but give them no calories. Fowler points to a recent study in
which feeding artificial sweeteners to rat pups made them crave more calories
than animals fed real sugar.
"If you offer your body something that tastes like a lot of calories,
but it isn't there, your body is alerted to the possibility that there is
something there and it will search for the calories promised but not
delivered," Fowler says.
Perhaps, Bonci says, our bodies are smarter than we think.
"People think they can just fool the body. But maybe the body isn't
fooled," she says. "If you are not giving your body those calories you
promised it, maybe your body will retaliate by wanting more calories. Some soft
drink studies do suggest that diet drinks stimulate appetite."