Why Diet Sodas Make Seniors Fat

Diet Soda[Spoiler Alert: if you’re offended by the word “fat,” this article is not for you.]

“Fat” is not a politically correct designation for my fellow humans, but why ignore the fact. There are a lot of fat people in the world and most of them desperately want to be thin. And, they would be happier and healthier if they chose to be thin and it is a choice.

In my politically incorrect (but accurate) opinion, the “bad genes” excuse doesn’t fly. Evolution did not predispose your body to give you diabetes, heart disease and a host of other medical problems by storing huge amounts of unneeded, unwanted and unhealthy fat.

Nope, your body stores all that fat for one simple reason: it can’t figure out what else to do with all the calories you’re ingesting. This is especially true when you consume huge amounts of unhealthy, nutrient-poor foods while in a semi-catatonic state on the couch or in the recliner.

I challenge anyone to show me a fat person who consistently consumes less food that his or her body requires to fuel its daily activities.

All of which leads me to the point of this post – the ridiculous and dangerous “solutions” some people use to avoid fatness.

Enter Diet Sodas

I suppose some fat people have been influenced by the marketing for diet sodas and sincerely believe substituting a diet soda for a regular soda is going to help them lose weight – poor souls.

Others are just playing mind games with themselves to rationalize how hard they are working to lose weight. These folks are easily identified. They are the ones you see in fast-food restaurants washing down a super-sized burger and large fries with a liter-sized diet soda.

Let’s face it, conventional sodas are toxic – basically a bottle or can of food coloring and sugar with zero nutritional value.  Diet sodas take this toxicity to the next level of Frankenfood-dom (that’s not really a word).

Those who consume diet sodas suffering under the mistaken belief that the sodas will help them lose weight and reduce their waistline are apparently unaware of the research on the subject.

If you’re one of those people, fear not! The UpGraded Senior-in-Chief has your back. Let’s take a look at some of that research, and since this is the UpGraded Senior website I’m going to focus on research involving seniors.

The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA), gathered data on health status and lifestyles of 749 Mexican-American and European-American elders (65 and older), then tracked the health outcomes in 466 survivors for more than nine years. The study tracked the number of sodas a participant consumed and whether the sodas were diet or regular sodas.

The Findings

Here’s how the bellies of the SALSA participants fared:

  • Seniors who reported that they did not consume any diet sodas experienced an increase in waist circumference of less than 1 inch on average
  • Participants who reported drinking less than one diet soda a day experienced an increase in waist circumference of almost 2 inches
  • Participating seniors who consumed one or more diet sodas every day experienced an increase in waist circumference of over 3 inches.

So, if we can accept this study as valid, what reason can there be to consume diet sodas?  Their sole purpose is to help us lose weight, right?  If they don’t do that, well . . . ?

But the fact that diet sodas appear to contribute to increasing, not decreasing, our weight is not the end of the story. The SALSA findings conceal another red flag for seniors.

Fat around the middle (your waist) includes the fat under your skin and the fat accumulating around your internal organs (visceral fat). Numerous studies have linked visceral fat with increased risk of metabolic disease, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and overall mortality.


  • Diet sodas do not help you lose weight. If anything, they help you gain weight, and more specifically – fat.
  • Diet sodas have ZERO nutritional value (the same is true of regular soda).
  • Diet sodas contribute to a number of bad health consequences.
  • There is absolutely no rational justification for consuming diet (or regular) sodas.

Tough love my gravity-challenged friends, but I present this post with a good heart hoping that you have ears to hear and will use the information to make whatever corrections you feel appropriate in your quest to be an UpGraded Senior.

Further reading:

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