Many older adults seem to be really getting the message that they, as individuals, need to be responsible for their own health and wellbeing – and that is great news. You would certainly agree that it is much better to be proactive and ward off illnesses than to have to deal with them once diagnosed.

The bad news is that many health conscious people don’t seem to realise that using ‘diet’ versions of soft drinks will not help their cause to keep their weight in check and health in good order – in fact, consuming diet drinks will have the opposite effect!

It seems that daily consumption of diet drinks may cause an greater risk of cardiovascular problems as well as a higher chance of becoming insulin resistant (metabolic syndrome also known as syndrome X).

According to US researchers, those people over the age of 65 who consume diet soft drinks every day actually gain four times the amount of fat around their abdomen than those who do not.
This study analysed the effect of consuming diet soft drinks on almost 750 people over a period of 9.4 years – taking into account factors such as weight, physical activity, socioeconomic status as well as fasting plasma glucose levels.

Researchers discovered that those who chose to drink diet drinks every day showed a gain of approximately 3cm in waist circumference. Compare this to a 1.76cm gain for those who occasionally indulged in a diet drink and only 0.77cm gain for those who abstained completely and it becomes obvious that diet drinks are definitely misnamed!

If you really don’t think you can give up soft drinks entirely (remember that sugar is a big no-no too) why not try making your own drinks with sparkling mineral water and a little unsweetened 100% fruit juice? In fact, why not try cutting out sweet drinks all together? Water really is delicious and makes a huge difference to your health and wellbeing when you drink enough of it.
You could also try having your coffee and tea unsweetened (it really only takes a little while to get used to it). If you don’t like the sound of that, try adding ‘safe’ sweeteners such as Nature Sweet Sugar Substitute, stevia or even small amounts of honey.

These days there is a huge choice of herbal teas and you don’t need to rustle around the back of the local health food store to find them. Check them out in the supermarket – there is such an array of flavours and most of them come in small packets so you can easily try them without having to buy huge amounts that you might not like. As an example, licorice tea is naturally very sweet and, apart from easily satisfying a sweet craving, it is great for your health.

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