Many dieters opt for sugar-free drinks in a bid to shed some excess pounds, but new research suggests this tactic is not effective.
U.S. researchers found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet fizzy drinks consume more calories from food than those who drink regular fizzy drinks.
The researchers, at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined national patterns in adult drink consumption and calorie intake.
They discovered that those who opt for diet drinks do not end up consuming fewer calories overall.
‘Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks,’ said Dr Sara Bleich, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and lead author of the paper.
Using data from the 1999 to 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers looked at national patterns of drink consumption and caloric intake.
WHY DO DIET DRINKS MAKE PEOPLE EAT MORE?
Artificial sweeteners, which are present in large quantities in diet soda, are associated with a greater activation of reward centres in the brain.
In other words, among people who drink diet soda, the brain’s sweet sensors may no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption because the artificial sweetener disrupts appetite control.
As a result, consumption of diet drinks may result in increased food intake overall.