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Most people choose artificially-sweetened soda over regular soda to avoid packing on extra pounds. But what if you already choose diet? Would it be helpful to quit that too?Dr. Jim Hill says he gets this question all the time from patients in his weight loss program at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.With funding from the American Beverage Association,

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Hill helped design a study that divided approximately 300 adults into two groups: One group would continue drinking diet,

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and the other group -- referred to in the study as the "water group" -- would go cold turkey. The study was published in the journal Obesity.Both participant groups received intensive coaching on successful techniques for weight loss, including regular feedback on the meals they logged in journals."The results,

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to us, were not at all surprising,"

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says Hill.While the typical participant banned from drinking diet sodas lost 9 pounds over 12 weeks, those allowed to continue drinking diet soda lost, on average,

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13 pounds in the same time period. That's a 4-pound difference.Hill says that in his clinical experience, many people who have successfully lost significant weight "are heavy users of noncaloric sweeteners."

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But why was the diet soda group more successful? The most likely reason is that this group had the easier task.

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Cutting calories and boosting exercise takes a lot of willpower. Trying to simultaneously give up something else you regularly enjoy -- such as diet soda -- taxes your ability to stay the course.

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Most psychologists agree that our willpower is a limited resource.So while this study did not track calorie consumption,

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the group blocked from drinking diet sodas most likely ate (or drank) more calories over the course of the 12-week diet."

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It makes sense that it would have been harder for the water group to adhere to the overall diet than the (artificially-sweetened beverage) group," says Hill.He added, "

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The most likely explanation was that having access to drinks with sweet taste helps the (artificially-sweetened beverage) group to adhere better to the behavioral change program."

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Real or fake sugar: Does it matter?In short, this study addresses the question of whether a regular diet soda drinker should attempt to kick his or her habit while also attempting to lose weight,

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not whether we should all drink more diet soda in order to lose weight.Artificially-sweetened beverages "

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are not weight-loss enhancers, so it's not anything in the compounds themselves that are promoting weight loss,"

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says Hill.Kristi Norton, a regular diet soda drinker before the study began, was assigned to the group that required her to kick the habit. At the time of her CNN interview,

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she was not aware of the study's findings.She says she lost 12 pounds during the course of the study, but the real difference is in how she feels."I feel like I could 1000% tell the benefit of drinking water only. I felt better, I had more energy,

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I felt healthier, I just generally felt way better," says Norton. "And I can feel the difference now when I drink a diet drink, I can feel this 'heaviness'."

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Since the study lasted just 12 weeks,

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it remains to be seen whether artificial sweeteners are beneficial in the long-term, says Susan Swithers,

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a professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue University.What the prospective studies actually suggest is that if you go out 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years,

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the cohorts of individuals who are consuming diet sodas have much worse health outcomes,"

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says Swithers.Those studies show a correlation, and are not designed to show causation. But some researchers like Swithers suspect artificial sweeteners ultimately increase the desire for sweets."

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Doing these short-term studies that look at weight can't really tell us anything about whether or not these products are contributing to these increased risks," says Swithers. "

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And it's really hard to look at the (long-term) data and come up with any argument that they're helping."

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Hill, along with four other researchers, designed the study, which was selected for funding by the American Beverage Association from among multiple competing proposals. The American Beverage Association's membership includes numerous Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottling companies.
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thank you for all your work Ruby and for this wonderful site. x
Love you Ruby Wax! Thanks for all the work you do and your show was great. xxx Am glad you've started this website and I hope it helps me and everyone else who comes here.
Fantastic site, thrilled to be part of the tribe! Hello from Hobbit land! :)
Hello in Hobbit land from the Uk! I totally agree with you and thanks for reminding me of something to look forward too. I can't wait for The Hobbit movie to be released. :)
Hi Ruby (and everyone) Thank you for this site! I feel our lives have been similar – I used to work in entertainment and always hid my pain behind the greasepaint and the smile. I have had varying degrees of success with various treatments, but have come to accept that I will be on anti-depressants for for the foreseeable… People – don’t be scared of the drugs – they help. I am a rare case that my imbalance cannot be modified, I have to stay on them. You may only need to take them for a short time! Much love to all, especially if you are in a spiral at the moment
Ive not posted on anything before, so please bear with me. Like many of you this is not my 1st encounter with the delights of depression - I have changed jobs - bullied out of the 1st, sacked from second and in this job finally being supported. Work really has not been the cause its been allsorts of things, but its taken until now and the support of a fantastic counsellor through Mind to get me to this point. CBT certainly didnt do it for me. Im now at a crossraods and its terrifying but maybe a little - mini bit exciting - today is a slightly better day. My husband left me after 20 + years - my son is in Afghanistan again, I dont know what is happening about housing etc as i dont know what my husband wants to do as he doesnt want to walk about it - for the 1st time in my life im not financially independent - i supported my husband through education to a great job - sounds pretty rubbish and bitter in some ways, but its not meant to be. Today is a bit of a better day because Ive found this site and maybe I will get through this - Ive got a brill dog, my son and hopefully a job, so life could certainly be much worse. Thank you for making the site and to all of you brave enough to post. I wish you all well. Much love xx
Is there no escape from marketing? It's bad enough that it invades my life at every turn but here too? I really don't need Cheryl Cole that I'm worth it, it is far from helpful as being constantly marketed to causes me alot of mental anguish and I do try to go out of my way to avoid it whenever possible. (I didn't know where else to put this in but with Cheryl popping out telling me how it was important we all looked pretty I had to write something somewhere)
the marketing keeps it free and pays the costs of the upkeep of the site, a small price to pay! I too hate marketing, but see it as a necessary evil - I like to believe I have stuck two fingers up at them by NOT clicking on their invasion into my life!!
I would also say - thank you Ruby for launching this site, I'm sure that it will provide an invaluable source of support for so many of us who live with this day in day out. Thank you.
I think this is a very valid point. Totally understand the need to have advertising so fund this site, otherwise it will only be accessible via paid membership only. So a plea to consider how the advertisements may actually make users of this site feel would be good.
hi i'm new to this website, i've suffered from depression for nearly thirty years now, and i feel so alone and when i try to talk about how i feel, it's like they don't get it. had a mental health worker for a short while and now she's discharged me because she put my mental state down to family problems, so now i have no-one to talk too, so i'm glad i watched ruby on alan titchmarsh show yesterday.
Yes I am 1 in 3. Saw the show twice in London. Laughed, cried and was amazed during the second half what people asked. Its a cruel situation when an episode occurs and seeing you today on Alan Titchmarsh was so refreshing so I thankyou for being out there for us or me anyway. My 13 yr old daughter has to live with me period and I so hope she does not inherit. However if she does by then i hope i have the tools to help her. Jane 47 single mum and struggling at the moment.x
Thanks Ruby for setting the site up.I'm sure there is light at the end of the tunnel...it's just the new landscape you emerge into is not necessarily familiar.Keep up the good work!
SillySimonC....People have said the same thing to me...."Oh good, you're over it now". Truth is...it never really goes away like a headache or bad haircut. Glad you're here.....:)
Thank you Misha, I'm glad you're here too!
That was a bit cheeky below. However, I think I've had depression since birth. The epilepsy at the age of four after a car crash didn't help. However, I've been fit free for the last twelve years now, and people say, "oh well done, you're over it!" Yeah right, they don't see the invisible aspects of it, the side affects/effects of the drugs, the amount of hits I've taken on my head. Yet, I fight on when everything feels against me, the loneliness, the isolation, the misunderstanding, everyday for the past fifteen years I've work with children, inspiring them, and they me, it's been like an eight hour a day stand up comedy routine, and all that's happened in my head has helped me develop all my creative juices as an actor, writer and video director, anyway, thanks for setting this site up. Maybe I'll truly see the light now xx
You're welcome!
@juliarobertt46130.....I agree! It's a great site to interact with other people like us. @alanjb......Glad you're here! I hope this site helps you too.......:)
Thanks for setting up this site. Everything I have been experiencing lately is so new to me, it helps knowing that I am not alone.
I saw you on Sky News this morning talking about this site, it's a brilliant idea
Thanks for setting up this site. Ive had severe depression since September 2011 and I am struggling to get my life back together. Christine
Max......LOL He could definitely teach my cats a thing or two...........
The cat is called socks. I've never seen him more well behaved.
Hahaha.......does your cat have a name?? LOVE the new layout on the site....:)
hi there. Its been a relief to read the comments submitted earlier on this site, and it is helping me to try to overcome this 'phase' I'm going through. Feeling paranoia. as if everyone is looking at me as though I am weird. I realise it is depression, but do not know how to eonvey this to my nearest and dearest. feel quite alone. but it has definitely helped reading the other posts. I just hope I can come out of this Black Dog mood soon... Best wishes for the site. its a great thing that you have done to start this, for all us lost souls out here...
Thank you for this site!
Thanks for this site, I am sure it will help many people.
Hi Ruby - thank you for setting the site up. I don't feel so alone now and it is nice to feel like part of a club almost. We should have secret BDT badges! Then if you see someone wearing one you know you are not alone. Also I think you should have a section for happy things. One of my ways of coping is to watch really nice things on You Tube. I clicked on this video because I saw your cat! Animals have a very calming effect when you are very low. I watch You Tube videos of animals and children when I am really sad, just to remind me of the beautiful things in the world, that are gentle and innocent. Anyway, just two ideas. Keep up the good work, and thank you again for all your work for people suffering and feeling alone. I will be dropping by often

I am in the middle of horrible depressive 'episode' and am sure that the menopause has started (when does it end?) and isn't helping my low mood. This is the third major depression that I've had and although I didn't want to take anti-depressants (and I do seem to be ressistent to many of them) I'm now on a combination of two different types and I feel that there has been an improvement.

As with most stuff you just have to go with how you feel and make the best decision you can. I wish you  the very  best and it does me good to know that I'm not alone. This site is great for me as I find talking about my feelings really difficult.

Write something...

Hi; I empathise and identify with how you're feeling. Have started hrt patches which have lifted my mood but the side effects are abysmal with non stop bleed and headaches, so may have to knock that on the head.

Which anti-d's are you taking? I have three various unopened packs prescribed to me but I'm reticent to take, as I don't think I feel low constantly. Given my circumstances, empty nester and jobless, surely it's normal to feel a bit low. Once I stop these patches I will be waking up throughout the night and feeling crappy all day. I do know that to take something would be for the best it's just the initial side-effects that are a bummer to handle. Also i think perhaps I am suffering from SAD syndrome as come the spring my mood starts to lift. All the same I would be interested to hear how you are doing on your meds?


After a friend told me her aunt/relation went bonkers in the menopause, I asked a Dr who told me that menopause or peri-forever-menopause doesn't cause mental health problems but it can exacerbate them. Great!

Love this site, recommending it everywhere I can.

Also Mind's YouTube vid 'The Daily Stigma'.

Have been low before but never this low and just though its me get over it. Just seen this on twitter and after feeling alone  and unable to ask for help this could change it.

Thankyou xxx


Write something...I

 just stumbled accross this and its like a breath of fresh air. I suddenly feel not so alone. well done Ruby, your an inspiration. I am currently going through a really bad spell where the light at the end of the tunnel has disappeared, but i been here before and i'm determined to beat it again x x x

I've always suffered symptoms of depression, even as a child, I now realise. 

I suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago from which I have now recovered, but as I have just entered the menopause, I feel myself starting to slide again. I have collected three different anti-d prescriptions over this past year but haven't the courage to take any just yet as i keep thinking life will improve, but it's not happening. 

I didn't know about this website before tonight. I saw Ruby Wax strolling around my patch this afternoon and have just looked her up online and hey presto I found she had started a website. I loved her humour in the 80's!