• Female employees get in shape using exercise gear during a workout class.

Female employees get in shape using exercise gear during a workout class. (Photo : YouTube /Fitbit)

Recent research shows that diet soda increases the risk of excessive weight gain compared to regular soda. This explains why many who opt for diet soda end up with little to no results at all.

The National Institute on Aging conducted a a study published on PLOS to determine whether drinking artificially-sweetened beverages was associated with excessive weight gain or obesity. They tracked the diet and body measurements of 1454 participants in the United States for a period of 28 years, and a median follow-up of 10 years.

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The extensive research unveiled that artificial sweetener users are likely to have a higher average body mass index, a larger waist circumference and a 53 percent higher risk of abdominal obesity. It was noted that the human brain has the ability to tell the difference between natural sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Researchers further performed brain scans on volunteers who sipped on water sweetened with sugar and sucralose (zero-calorie artificial sweetener) respectively. Results showed that although the conscious mind could not distinguish between the two, the brain could tell the difference.

Another study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and medicine 2010 concludes that artificial sweeteners increase sugar-craving and dependence. This is because the artificial sweetener does not fully satisfy the desire for natural sugar calorie.

Despite the extensive research on artificial sweeteners, it is not scientifically proven that they actually cause weight gain. The studies only show correlation, not causation. There are, however, different studies on diet soda that reveal conflicting results.

The American Beverage Association concluded that diet beverages are essential for a healthy diet plan. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that artificial sweeteners may help with weight loss if used strategically.  The opposite may cause more harm than good, however.

Meanwhile, water intake as a way of losing weight was identified as the most natural and efficient way as compared to replacing high-calorie beverages with artificially manufactured low-calorie sweeteners. Water was proven to help reduce the amount of food one can consume in between meals, improve metabolism and burn extra calories.

Weight loss strategies still remain a broad topic that allows for extensive research. Specialists recommend a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, and enough exercise. Here is a clip of more weight loss tips: