If you thought gulping down diet drinks would help you lose weight, think again. Researchers found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages actually consume more calories from food than obese or overweight adults who drink regular soda or other sugary beverages.
"Although 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 Sara Bleich, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.
To reach this conclusion, researchers looked at national patterns in adult diet beverage consumption and caloric intake by body-weight status, said the study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Individuals who drink diet soda typically have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and consume more snack food than those who drink sugary beverages.
Artificial sweeteners present in high doses in diet soda disrupts appetite control and the brain's sweet sensors may no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption, it added.
As a result, consumption of diet drinks may result in increased food intake overall.
"Overweight and obese adults may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification," said Bleich.