CBS News ran a story with the above title on March 17, 2015. The story was based on research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on March 17, 2015, showing that drinking diet soda actually causes an increase in waist size in seniors, and places them at risk for a number of adverse health conditions.
Study author Sharon Fowler, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, commented in the CBS article saying, “We’re being naive if we only look at the number of calories in the label. People may be sabotaging their own health if they use diet sodas to protect themselves from gaining weight.”
The study showed that the more diet soda someone consumes, the more likely they are to increase their waist size. Diet soda was also shown to contribute to greater risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of risk factors that can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The study named the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA), looked at 749 Mexican and European-Americans who were aged 65 and older. Researchers monitored diet soda intake, waist circumference, height, and weight over a 10 year period on the subjects. The results showed an increase in waist circumference among diet soda drinkers, that was almost triple that among seniors who did not drink diet sodas.
Science Daily also carried the story and quoted author Sharon Fowler saying, “Our study seeks to fill the age gap by exploring the adverse health effects of diet soda intake in individuals 65 years of age and older. The burden of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, along with healthcare costs, is great in the ever-increasing senior population.” She concluded, “The SALSA study shows that increasing diet soda intake was associated with escalating abdominal obesity, which may increase cardiometabolic risk in older adults.”