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Diet Soda And Abdominal Fat

The increasing concerns about the adverse health effects of sugar intake have led to the promotion and
consumption of sweeteners. In fact, one of the first measures that individuals take when attempting to
lose weight and reduce their abdominal fat is changing refined sugar consumption for sweeteners. That
includes changing from regular soda to diet soda, as well as it happens with other foods or edibles.

For these reasons, nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS) and diet soda (DSI)consumption increased over the
past years. However, obesity has still been increasing too. Furthermore, the long-term effects of
nonnutritive sweeteners and diet soda are not clear yet, despite the fact that some studies have been
performed to examine the health effects of diet soda consumption. These studies have focused on
middle-aged or younger adults but had not examined the effects of diet soda intake on individuals
above 65 years of age.

Something that has been noticed is that the changes that our bodies undergo as we age contribute to
increasing morbidity and mortality.

Waist circumference keeps rising throughout life, even though we lose muscle and weight over the
The age-related increase in waist circumference reflects a disproportionate increase in abdominal fat.
Abdominal fat, or visceral fat, is tightly associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. Additionally,
large waist circumference is a primary component of the metabolic syndrome.

Waist circumference, which indicates the presence of abdominal adiposity has been prospectively
associated with other health conditions, such as:
increased abdominal inflammation
insulin resistance
greater incidence of diabetes type 2
cognitive difficulties
cardiovascular disease
greater mortality.

A study named SALSA (San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging), was performed to investigate the
relationship between long-term waist circumference change and diet soda consumption. 749
individuals aged 65 and older were examined and followed up for an average of 9.4 years. At the
beginning participants diet soda intake, waist circumference, height, and weight were measured. Same
was done after the conclusion. The results showed a surprising relationship between diet soda intake
and bodily response. Furthermore, the study that took almost ten years showed that waist circumference
gain in diet sodas consumers, daily or occasional, was nearly four times higher than that of
nonconsumers. The increase in diet soda consumption is directly associated with an escalating
augment in abdominal fat. It is now a demonstrated that the aging population who consume diet soda,
are at high cardiometabolic risk.

Consistently with the results of other studies conducted on animals and humans on the consumption of
sweeteners and/or diet soda, the mentioned study demonstrated that those individuals who consume
nonnutrively sweetened drinks to fight back obesity, and/or metabolic and cardiovascular risk, are in
fact putting themselves at even higher risk.
It is evident now that there is a strong need for education. Individuals of all ages, and particularly older
ones, should receive nutritional education, which should promote the consumption of water, pure fruit
juice, and unsweetened coffee or tea as healthy alternatives to diet sodas which instead of helping them
to prevent obesity and its associated conditions, increase the risks of metabolic and heart disease.

Reference: Fowler et al, 2015, Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist
Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging,
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol 63, No. 4