I drink diet soda because I find regular soda far too sweet. Unfortunately, a new study suggests that diet soda won’t help me keep trim; in fact, it appears people who consume these low-sugar, low-calorie soft drinks end up consuming more calories than people who drink regular soda.
That’s the finding of researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In a recent report published by the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers say they found obese and overweight adults who drank diet soda consumed more calories than people who opted for the sugary alternative.
The study, which ran from 1999 to 2010 and involved almost 25,000 people, also found that people who consistently drank diet pop had a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who did not.
Researcher and Bloomberg School associate professor Sara Bleich suggests that diet soda fans may be turning to sweet snacks for their sugar rush, thereby wiping out any gains made by consuming low-calorie soft drinks.
“The results of our study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight — who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages — may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification,” Bleich said.
Bleich and her team also pointed to earlier research that suggests the artificial sweeteners in diet pop — like aspartame — may disrupt appetite control. In other words, sweeteners may trick the brain into thinking that a person needs more calories than they actually require.