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The Psychological Impact Of Diet Soda


For the last few decades, people have been very drawn to artificially sweetened drink compared to other sugary beverages. But even with the rise of zero-calorie drinks consumption as opposed to sugared sodas, the obesity rate in the United States still continue to increase and as a matter of fact, it has been in a very alarming level for the longest time.

Could this be a coincidence? When it comes to food, nothing is coincidental. The nutritional facts are plainly stated in each food and meal. It can be searched so let’s not put everything to chance and coincidence. Eating is a deliberate act and if you eat something that is not good for the body, there will be consequences, one of which is obesity.

A study published in the NCBI site have revealed that these diet sodas or zero-calorie drinks can affect a person’s body in the long run and leads it to a shoot up on weight gain. If it were healthy, in the first place, all drinks in this world would be low-fat, low-calorie, zero-calorie, no-sugar and etc. But, it’s not the case. That’s because low or zero calorie drinks can influence a surge in calorie consumption on the next meal – proven by research as mentioned in this online published paper titled “The effect of non-caloric sweeteners on cognition, choice, and post-consumption satisfaction”.

The body is built to react in different situations – for example, if it tastes something sweet, it will ready itself for sugar until it is satisfied of it. But if it tastes the sweetness and yet there is no sugar since the artificial additive was used, it will “mess up” the energy-boosting process. This is what the study was talking about, in simple terms.

An experiment was performed by 115 participants who fasted for eight hours. They were to drink a 12-ounce beverage (unmarked) as the group was divided into three – one part was to consume Sprite which is a sugar-sweetened drink, another part was Sprite Zero which contains artificial sweetener and the last part was flavored water with lemon-lime taste and no sugar added.

After the drink, they were asked to answer a test by using a computer. It was like a word-processing game. A picture is shown and the participants were to find the letters as placed. The response time of the participants were observed.

Those who drank Sprite Zero (with artificial sweeteners) answered faster in naming the foods (those foods were mostly high calorie items). No other observation on the flavor-infused water and sugared drink was noted.

A similar experiment was also performed with 115 participants, as well. They also drank the three beverages, by group. After drinking, they opened a box which contained three foods. One was a pack of M&M’s, the next one was water and the last item was sugar free gum (Trident). The packaging was of course changed and they were asked to bring one item with them before they leave.

Participants who consumed the Sprite Zero (artificially sweetener) took the M&M’s 2.93 times more often than the other participants who drank water and sugared beverage.

The scientists couldn’t pinpoint a definite conclusion to it except that there is a connection with sweetened foods and energy. It is certain though that the body will crave for the next high calorie sweet food it encounters after consuming an artificially sweetened drink since it will look for the real thing. This is to “fix” the energy boost-sweet food process.

So before you decide to drink diet soda, think about this research. You may have cut down on the calories with the drink but the next food you see, even if it is processed, greasy and full of calories, will be your “target”. This will make you obese in the long run, for sure.