Swapping out sugary sodas for diet drinks may help you cut calories, but a new study says they can also lead to some serious health issues.
This latest research links consumption of sodas sweetened with aspartame, socialize and saccharin to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Bariatric surgeon Dr. Gregory Schroder says many of his patients have found diet sodas to be a useful tool in weight loss, but they have to be consumed within reason.
"Anything in moderation can be good but to take it to excess can be bad," he says.
Like others before it, this study found artificial sweeteners trick your body. When you eat real sugar, you can't properly regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Diet soda drinkers also tend to pack on more pounds because the fake sweeteners make you crave sweet foods.
But Schroder says it's you who controls whether you crave sugar and eat a piece of fruit or a piece of cake.
"The key is picking good calories," he says. "If you're going to use an artificial sweetened drink get good calories by picking good foods making healthy food choices."
The CDC reports that 20 percent of Americans consume diet drinks on any given day and numbers have skyrocketed since the late 80's.
So there's reason to question their health effects, but Schroder says there needs to be more research before we stop drinking them all together.
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