Bad news for diet soda drinkers

A campaign by local leaders is hoping to educate the community about how much sugar they’re consuming through beverages. But before you go reaching for that diet drink as a substitute, you might want to think again.

The latest study by researchers at the UT Health Science Center, looking at how diet soft drinks influence obesity, is finding a connection — but in the wrong direction.

That study, known as the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, followed nearly 750 people for more than a decade. Over that period, diet soda drinkers grew bigger around the middle than those who didn’t drink diet sodas.

The more they drank, the bigger they got. Those who didn’t drink diet sodas gained less than an inch around the middle. Those who sipped diet drinks only occasionally gained almost two inches. Those who drank them daily gained more than three inches.

Sharon Fowler, a UT Health Science Center researcher has studied the issue for many years, and has seen fairly consistent results over that period. Among her collaborators is Helen Hazuda, chief of clinical epidemiology at the UT Health Science Center.

The latest results are published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Of course, the best choice for quenching thirst is water, which is available at your closest tap for next to nothing.

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