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A new study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics looks at the long term relationships of waist circumference and diet soda intake. The study followed 749 people ages 65 and older who were asked, every couple of years, how many cans of soda they drank a day, and how many of those sodas were diet or regular.  

The study revealed that people who didn’t drink diet soda gained less than an inch around their waists, but people who drank diet soda daily gained 3.2 inches. Those who drank both diet and regular had increases in their waistlines of almost 2 inches.  

The interesting part of this study is the relationship with zero calorie beverages and weight control. While many people are trying to maintain a healthy body weight, the fact that age, inactivity and food intake impact the bottom line and the waistline too.

Many nutritionists take a hard line on diet soda professing the chemicals and artificial sweeteners will kill you sooner than the weight gain.  But in all reality, weight control is a difficult task.  The Calorie Control Council, an association that represents the reduced-calorie food and beverage industry — including alternative sweeteners — disagreed with the study’s findings.

“The use of low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) in weight management has been shown to be beneficial,” the group said in a statement. “While approaches to treat obesity in older individuals is controversial, diet modifications can be a successful part of a weight-management program for older adults.”

With more than 65 percent of the population in the U.S. overweight or obese, diet soda is may or may not be the answer, nor is it going to kill you.  For those practicing conscious eating and moving daily, you have a higher chance for success in living a healthy, longer, healthy body weight life, than those who don't.  

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