I tend to be a skeptic about, oh, everything, so this morning, when I noticed a ridiculous-sounding theory about diet soda on my bottle of Fruitwater (clearly a party with a vested interest), I had to check it out:
"Yes, they have no calories but the artificial sweeteners may trick our bodies into craving more sweets. Know someone who says they're addicted to diet... (you fill in the blank)?"
I do know someone who says that -- me. I drink six Diet Cokes a day, and right now I'm also drinking my words, because it turns out that this whole trick-the-body theory may be kind of true:
Researchers say artificial sweeteners may interfere with the body's natural ability to count calories based on a food's sweetness and make people prone to overindulging in other sweet foods and beverages. ... In the study, published in the July issue of the International Journal of Obesity, two groups of rats were fed either a mix of high-calorie, sugar-sweetened, and low-calorie, artificially sweetened liquids; or sugar-sweetened liquids alone. This was fed to the rats in addition their regular diet. After 10 days, they were offered a high-calorie, chocolate-flavored snack. The study showed that rats fed the mixed liquids ate more of their regular chow after the sweet snack than those who had been fed sugar-sweetened liquids alone.
Apparently, the body figures out that the sweet diet products don't have any calories and goes on to assume that other sweet stuff isn't so high-calorie either. I can buy that -- evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense, since our ancestors needed to be able to find the highest-cal foods in an environment where dinner wasn't always guaranteed. Even if the science is spot-on, though, I have to take issue with this columnist, who provides his own evidence in that he can't "recall ever seeing a thin person buying a twelve-pack of diet Pepsi at the grocery store." Mr. Adams, I weigh 107 pounds, and you're welcome to accompany me on my next trip to CVS, where I will be buying yet another 12-pack of Diet Coke. Maybe also some Fruitwater.