Diet Soda=Fat gain/Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse=Performance Enhancement

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people who drank diet soda gained almost triple the abdominal fat over nine years compared to those who didn’t drink diet soda.

This was an epidemiological study where 749 people ages 65 and older were asked how many cans of soda they drank a day, and how many of those sodas were diet or regular.

The study found that people who didn’t drink diet soda gained about 0.8 in. around their waists over the study period, while those who drank diet soda daily gained 3.2 in. Occasional drinkers of diet soda gained about 1.8 in.

The data turned out to be predictive of abdominal-fat gain. Confounding factors such as  diabetes, smoking and levels of physical activity were excluded.

Changes in waist circumference is especially concerning because visceral or belly fat has been correlated with increased cardiovascular disease, inflammation and Type 2 diabetes.

The results of this study and others like it adds to the growing body of evidence that non-nutritive/artificial sweeteners come with health consequences, which ironically, are those that we are led to believe they are supposed to mitigate.

The mechanism(s)

Sugar-free sodas contain substances that sweeten soda at 200-600 times the sweetness of sugar.

Regular sugar has caloric consequences, a key one being the triggering of satiety (fullness or satisfaction). Your body is hard wired to know that foods that taste sweet means you are ingesting energy in the form of calories.

Artificial sweeteners, however, confuse our bodies and weaken the link in our brains between sweetness and calories. This can lead to cravings for sweet treats, overeating and weight gain.

Another study showed that artificial sweeteners actually changed the gut bacteria which can promote insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, both of which can lead to weight gain.

Other studies suggest that artificial sweeteners are associated with a drop in leptin, the appetite-regulating hormone.

Unfortunately many people have been led to believe they are  doing something good by drinking artificially sweetened/diet beverages, when in reality it is harmful.

You can’t fool mother nature!

But you can Biohack her…

Biohack of the week- Can Carbohydrate (CHO) Mouth Rinse Improve Performance during Exercise?

A Systematic Review found that a CHO mouth rinse increased the performance during moderate- high-intensity exercise by activating specific oral receptors and consequently brain areas involved with reward.

In addition, oral cavity receptors have been shown to increase neural drive, (i.e. The strength of the signal from the nervous system to the muscles) resulting in greater force production and strength.

The effect seems to be accentuated when muscle and liver glycogen stores are reduced, possibly due to a greater sensitivity of the oral receptors.

This has interesting applications for those who prefer to exercise on an empty stomach for digestive reasons.  Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are a common concern of athletes during intense exercise. Ultimately, these symptoms can impair performance and possibly prevent athletes from winning or finishing a race. The main causes of GI problems during exercise are mechanical, ischemic (lack of blood supply to the GU track) and nutritional factors. Among the nutritional factors, a high intake of carbohydrate and hyperosmolar solutions increases GI problems.


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin