Belman Insurance Advisor is Disturbed by Recent News that Diet Sodas Make People Fat

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On July 12th, published an article, “Does diet soda actually make you gain weight?”, talking about the recent spate of headlines regarding the counter-intuitive effects of diet or non-caloric soft drinks. looks at both sides of the argument and discusses how this news may affect the insurance industry.

Dr. Susan Swithers believes that diet beverages can make people fat. As detailed on in an article written by Trevor Butterworth on 7/12/13, her argument is slightly counter-intuitive. She posits that when drinking a diet or non-calorie beverage, because the taste buds are getting something sweet, the brain expects the corresponding amount of energy (as provided by actual sugar). When that doesn’t happen, it makes a person “metabolically deranged” thereby gaining weight.

The problem with this theory is that it’s still just a theory. Ms. Swithers has observational data (information gleaned from studying animals) but no control trials. Again, what this means is that she believes she has a strong theory but, for the rest of the world, no hard proof. Many news outlets, however, have led with headlines decrying diet beverages as sure paths to obesity.

What effect might this have on the insurance industry? Insurance professionals know that health and life insurance policies use weight as a metric to premium rating. If someone is overweight it can affect the outcome of their premium. Until more research is done, it’s difficult to know unequivocally if drinking a diet beverage as opposed to a “regular” beverage is healthier. This in turn, makes it difficult to advise clients. Belman Insurance Advisor is of the opinion that until solid proof is had about the negative effects of diet beverages, no one should panic, and that all of the hyperbole-filled headlines should be ignored. looks with a distrusting eye on recent headlines regarding the link between diet beverages and weight gain and urges the industry to ignore the hype.

Belman Insurance Advisor suggests to insurance professionals ways to manage their business and client relations to provide continued success.

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