Do diet drinks contribute to weight loss?

While attempting to lose weight, many people would opt for the seemingly lighter alternative of a diet drink. However, how much do these contribute to weight loss and could consumption of them actually increase chances of weight gain? According to a study completed in the US during 2014 involving over 23,000 adults, it was concluded that those of an overweight or obese stature consumed more sugar-free beverages than those of a healthy mass. Although the diet drinks advertise sugar and calorie free enjoyment, the study showed that those who drank the drinks tended to snack more afterwards. This brought their total calorie intake to above or equal to that of an obese person who consumed non-diet beverages. The conductors of the experiment theorised two possible causes of this. The first insinuated that although the drinks do not contain any sugar, they still activate the brains “sugar reward” pathways and consequently sparks a craving for sugar which causes extra snacking and hence weight gain. The second theory is that people may inadvertently feel the need to substitute the calories they don’t recieve from sugar-free drinks with eating more food. However, due to the relatively small focus group as well as the fact that other factors such as genetics and lifestyle have not been accounted for, the outcome of the experiment should be taken lightly. Yet the results do show that calorie intake from both food and drink should be accounted for when attempting to lose weight, alongside regular exercise. Although the study conducted does not strictly answer if diet drinks increase weight gain, it implies that consumption may cause extra snacking which in turn would lead to an increase in mass. Therefore, when choosing to follow a healthier diet it is perhaps more beneficial to avoid fizzy drinks, both full fat and diet, as much as possible. Please feel free to add any comments or theories concerning the effect of “lighter” food and drink options on weight loss and stay tuned for more blog posts.

Aoife.

How much are medical negligence claims costing the NHS?

As I am sure most of you are aware, the NHS is currently in what can only be called fianancial crisis. From the frequent junior doctor strikes in 2016, causing approximately 1,000,000 appointments and over 100,000 operations to be cancelled, to the NHS software being hacked earlier this year. However, what I didn’t realise is that one of the main drains on NHS funding is the multiple medical negligance claims paid out annually. Whilst reading the Casebook, I discovered that a startling £1.7 billion has been paid out over the last year in compensation. This is £0.2 billion more than more than last year and a staggering 98% more than was paid in 2010. Is this something the NHS can afford? If so where on earth are they finding the money? The £1.7 billion paid throughout 2016 and 2017 could have fiananced the training of approximately 7,300 doctors, staff numbers that the government is in desperate need of! A campaign launched by Medical Protection, titled ‘Clinical Negligence Costs: Striking a Balance’ suggested that a ten year limit should be placed between the date of an adverse incident and when a claim can be made. I personally have difficulty with this. Does a person suffering from medical negligence deserve to wait ten years for a verdict on compensation? It it morally or ethically right to force an individual who has already been neglected by their health care system to not obtain closure for a further decade? Unfortunately I do not have the definate answers to these questions, as both are extremely subjective. However, feel free to comment any opinions or theories as to how the NHS could reduce these costs and please stay tuned for more blog posts.

Aoife