A lot of people trying to be healthy switch to diet sodas and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners. Diet sodas have been red-flagged by health experts and dietitians for years now, but people continue to consume them, thinking that they are healthier than sugary drinks. But a new study has highlighted why the diet soda obsession is a mere fad, without any real health benefits. The study conducted among American teens and kids said that those who consumed low-calorie or diet sodas consumed almost 200 calories more per day, as compared to people who just stuck to water for hydration. Additionally, participants who consumed low-calorie or zero-calorie beverages consumed the same amounts of sugar as those who consumed sugar-sweetened drinks and sodas. This study isn't exactly an eye-opener, as health experts have long warned against consumption of these drinks, but will surely force people to re-think the utility of these 'diet' drinks.
The study titled, "Consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages is associated with higher total energy and sugar intake among children" was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity. The study was conducted by scientists at the George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health and it looked at data of 7026 children enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011 to 2016. The participants reported everything that they ate and drank over a 24-hour period and the researchers zeroed in on reported consumption of sweetened beverages, especially those with low-calorie sweeteners and those with sugar. Among the key findings of the study was the observation that kids who drank low-calorie sweetened beverages also ingested more added sugars from other foods and drinks, as compared to those who drank water.
A report published on the University website elaborated on the findings of the study saying, "After adjusting for body weight, consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages, sugary beverages and combined consumption of both was associated with 196, 312 and 450 higher total calorie intake compared to youth who consumed predominantly water." Additionally, researchers noted that in the sample size, the highest calorie intake was reported among teens and kids who either consumed low calorie sweetened beverages or sugary beverages.