If you're trying to slim down, think you should switch out your favorite sweetened foods from those made with traditional sugar to the “light” or “diet” varieties made with an artificial sweetener? Turns out, maybe not. According to some recent studies, consuming the fake stuff may lead to overeating.
Research on this topic is relatively new - and so far most of the testing has been done with animals. One study tested the weights of lab animals that were fed “light” yogurt containing saccharin versus the traditional sugar-sweetened variety. The animals who consumed yogurt sweetened with saccharin consumed more calories and packed on more pounds than the animals who were give the yogurt with sugar added. Why is this? Researchers believe that like humans, animal’s brains are conditioned to expect sweet-tasting foods to be high in calories. When that no-calorie substitute is consumed instead, it seems to put the brain and the body in conflict. The brain thinks, “Mmmm, satisfyingly sweet.” And the body insists, “Wait. This isn’t working. I need more.” There are already human studies that link diet soft drinks to excess weight.
If you value your pearly whites, here’s another reason to avoid sodas – diet or regular. Most carbonated soft drinks wear and tear on your tooth enamel like you wouldn’t believe. Whether they’re full of sugar or not, bubbly drinks have some impact on tooth enamel. Citrus-flavored sodas do the most damage, followed by colas. The only exception seems to be root beer, which only causes a slight impact on tooth enamel.
It’s not just the sugars in sodas that are bad for your teeth, it’s the acids too. The total acid content of the soda including types like citric, phosphoric, malic, and tartaric acids affect how much damage your choppers take. They say rinsing your mouth after consuming a soda can reduce the damage, but who does that?
The good news is that you can satisfy your sweet tooth and be mindful of your calorie intake at the same time. Try piling on the berries – they’re a yummy addition to cereal, yogurt or just by themselves. Berries of all kinds are great for you a full of fiber – which helps you feel full. And when you’ve just gotta have chocolate – think quality, not quantity. A little piece of dark chocolate can be more satisfying than a pound of the milk chocolate variety. And eaten in small quantities, dark chocolate is actually good for you.