Will drinking diet sodas actually cause weight gain? Researchers have found that diet sodas can often cause weight gain, instead of loss. But there are no calories in diet soda, right? How can you gain weight from something with no calories? Well, there may be several factors, but one major one is human psychology. Diet soda drinkers may already be overweight, hence the diet, and need a lifestyle overhaul rather than a simple, no-calorie fix. Purdue researcher Susan Swithers just published an opinion piece in an endocrinology journal proposing a theory to explain why diet sodaholics don’t seem to fare any better than sugared soda consumers. Noting that the same hormonal and brain center changes that occur physiologically after true sugary intake don’t occur after artificial sweetener intake, she proposes a “learning” of this response results in a subnormal hormonal surge to cope with actual calories when they are consumed. Interesting, but I think it’s really mostly about “cognitive distortion”. You know, it’s the “I’ll have a super size cheeseburger and fries with diet soda” gambit. Which of us waist watchers hasn’t pulled that one? Physiology may also play a part in this paradox, since sweet taste and caffeine may trigger hunger and taste, making the brain crave more food and sweets. Other research suggests that aspartame, a common artificial sweetener, may prevent the satisfaction and fullness signals that occur in our central nervous system. Finally, carbonation can cause bloating, which may create a desire for food, simply to settle our stomachs. Our favorites, spring water and iced green tea, are healthy, thirst-quenching, and satisfying. If you don’t believe it, try it for a few days. Stay off soda, and quench your thirst with some refreshing pure spring water. You can even add a little mint or lime to it if you want to, figuratively, spice it up a little! It will fill you up without arousing your hunger, and, unlike soda, it is not acidic, so you can rest at peace knowing you are not ingesting a liquid capable of corroding batteries and other metals. Thanks for reading, and let me know how it goes, at DrTobler.com!