Dr. Mehmet Oz said the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas ruin your metabolism, promote belly fat storage, and sabotage weight loss on the Aug. 13 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
While diet soda drinkers think they're being healthy, Dr. Oz said the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can make you fat, give you a large waist, and put you at risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome and stroke. On a previous episode, he said diet sodas can increase your risk of heart attack.
A 10-year study conducted by the University of Texas showed that people who drank just one diet soda a day had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. And people who drank two or more diet sodas a day experienced a shocking 500 percent increase in waist size.
When you consume an artificially sweetened diet soda, taste receptors in your esophagus and stomach get stimulated, and your pancreas release insulin in anticipation of receiving something sweet. Insulin signals your body to store fat.
Meanwhile, your brain's satiety center waits for cues to determine whether you've received calories. Because diet sodas have no calories, your brain gets confused because it has been tricked by the artificial sweeteners. Dr. Oz said these confusing signals trigger sugar cravings, increase your appetite, ruin your metabolism, and cause weight gain.
Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Cancer
Artificial sweeteners are usually made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as soy, beets and corn. Researchers have linked GMOs to cancer, birth defects, accelerated aging, disruptions in the endocrine system, resistance to antibiotics and infertility.
What's more, because the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are over 100 times sweeter than real sugar, your taste buds gradually become desensitized, making you crave even more sugar, said Dr. Oz.
Dr. Oz said the carbonation in diet soda magnifies the weight-gaining impact of diet sodas and disrupts your hunger signals. "The bubbles in diet soda confuse your brain and create an addictive response," he said.
Research has shown that diet sodas can also cause digestive issues such as bloating, cramps and diarrhea, and increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, according to the American Diabetes Association. Metabolic syndrome describes a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
In addition to causing unsightly belly fat, diet sodas ruin your teeth. This is because the carbonated water and citric acid in diet sodas cause horrific tooth decay by eroding tooth enamel. And for years, artificial sweeteners have been linked to an increased risk of many different types of cancer.
Dr. Oz suggested eliminating or cutting back on diet sodas and opting for water (which is the healthiest drink) or drinking unsweetened green tea.