Diet soda makes you fat?

The Des Moines Register on Friday, July 12, 2013 included an article that stated:

“…a Purdue University study has found that diet sodas may be linked to a number of health problems from obesity to diabetes to heart disease, just like their more sugary counterparts. Susie Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences and a behavioral neuroscientist, reviewed a number of recent studies looking at whether drinking diet soft drinks over the long term increases the likelihood that a person will overeat, gain weight and then develop other health problems.”  

If you go to the source, you find that the author of the “study” classifies the paper as an “opinion”, not a scientific study.  She reviewed a number of other studies and wrote her opinion about what she concluded from her review.  She speculated that drinking artificially sweetened soda may induce “metabolic derangements” that may end up causing a person to ear more other food.

I think she is wrong and I think she reversed the cause and effect.

I speculate that people who are thin don’t worry so much about what they drink and so they drink regular sugar soft drinks. People who are overweight try to reduce calories when they can, and diet soda is a relatively easy way to reduce calories. So, there is a tendency for people who are overweight to drink diet soft drinks. The article/opinion reverses the cause and effect. Diet soda does not cause obesity. People who are obese, or who tend to have weight control problems, drink more diet soda than relatively thin people.

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