Better control of your belly fat

In an attempt to control your belly fat, have you turned to diet or zero-sugar soda? Find ways to cut down on your intake, if you’re not getting the results you want.

Various soft drinks in a cooler.
Photo: Pixabay/Jessica Denham.

As we age, it seems that it is harder to control body weight, especially the protrusion and flattening of certain body parts. It appears as though our bellies poke out a little more and our buttocks flatten a little more. A potential culprit for that protruding belly can be diet soda or beverages with artificial sweeteners.

One recent study shows a link between the high consumption of diet drinks and the increase of belly fat in older adults. The study also references, with the increase in belly fat, that there is the increased risk of other diseases related to obesity. This study does not come without opposing expert reaction. Regardless, if you are one of the individuals who, in an effort to reduce the intake of sugary drinks has turned to diet drinks to trim some of your belly fat, you may need to reconsider that choice. Or, if you’ve been drinking diet soda for a while and are still not seeing the results you desire and would like to cut down on your caloric intake, here are some suggestions:

  • Replace one diet drink, per day, with a tall glass of plain, cold water.
  • Substitute at least one diet drink with real fruit-flavored water, that has lemons, strawberries, peaches, etc.
  • Order unsweetened fruit tea instead of a diet soda.
  • Plan to reduce your diet soda intake to only a few times a week, then progress to only a few times a month, or less.

According to the CDC’s Consumption of Diet Drinks in the United States, 2009/2010 report, there was an increase in the percentage of people choosing diet drinks between 1999 and 2010, and a decrease in regular soda for the same period. This funding suggested people may be replacing one for the other, possibly promoting short-term weight loss. But the same report points out the lack of clarity for the long-term results for weight loss, weight maintenance or even weight gain.

Read more about other health, nutrition and weight management topics through Michigan State University Extension. There are many tips to encourage you to work on habits that may be contributing to extra fat and help reduce some risk factors related to obesity.

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