Diet Soda Linked to Belly Fat in Older Adults

(HealthDay News) — Increasing diet soda intake is tied to greater abdominal obesity in older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sharon P.G. Fowler, MPH, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and colleagues followed 749 older individuals aged at least 65 years at baseline for a mean of 2.64 follow-up intervals over 9.4 total follow-up years. The authors sought to assess the relationship between diet soda intake and long-term changes in waist circumference.

The researchers found that after adjusting for initial waist circumference, demographic characteristics, physical activity, diabetes and smoking, for diet soda users, the mean interval change in waist circumferece (2.11 cm) was almost triple that of nonusers (0.77 cm; P<.001). 

The adjusted interval changes in waist circumference were 0.77 cm for nonusers, 1.76 cm for occasional users and 3.04 cm for daily users (P=.002 for trend). 

Diet soda users had consistently higher changes in waist circumference in point estimates in subanalyses stratified for selected covariates.

“In a striking dose-response relationship, increasing DSI was associated with escalating abdominal obesity, a potential pathway for cardiometabolic risk in this aging population,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Fowler SPG, Williams K, Hazuda HP. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015;doi:10.1111/jgs.13376.