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Why One Cardiologist Has Drunk His Last Diet Soda

In a vociferous condemnation of “diet” products, a Yale School of Medicine cardiologist has gone public with his new-found knowledge of what artificially sweetened foods like soda can do to your body. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Harlan Krumholz shares his frustration of learning that instead of helping you maintain or lose weight, diet foods and drinks may actually disturb your metabolism and set you up for weight gain. Krumholz also noted that his colleagues at Yale had previously warned that artificial sweeteners also affect hormone secretion, cognitive processes and gut microbiota.

It’s beginning to sound like the proverbial broken record, but decades of science point toward serious health consequences connected with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. What’s most amazing is that it’s taken this long for this prestigious cardiologist to figure out that an artificially sweetened, lower-calorie drink that tastes sweet can trigger a greater metabolic response than a drink with a higher number of calories.

The science of this is that when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn't contain any calories, your brain's pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste, but there's nothing to deactivate it, since the calories never arrive. And if you need science behind that, more than one study has revealed a "striking dose-response relationship" between diet soda consumption and waist circumference.

Even more concerning is that aspartame is found in more than 6,000 products, from diet soda to sugar-free gum, children's medicines and no-sugar ketchup — and the consequences can be devastating. Just a few health problems linked to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners include cancer — including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and brain tumors — heart disease, dementia and stroke.
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